With an annual metered water bill of £9,500, Baginton Nurseries are implementing improvements to water conservation and storage systems on their 2.4 hectare site in Coventry. With plans a foot to commence rain water harvesting too, Managing Director, Will Lamb, has announced the introduction of a water management compost additive Celcote across all their products.
Specialising in the production of bedding plants, hanging basket and containers for independent garden centres and Local Authority contracts, Will Lamb has been keen to explore the practical opportunities and measures which could help the bedding plant nursery reduce its water bill.
He comments that the ability to control and manage their water usage is a significant benefit, particularly as planting gets underway and before the season develops.
With parts of the UK having already been declared in a state of drought, the situation is highlighting the true value of water as a resource, but also the vulnerability of many production systems.
“It is emphasising the importance of reviewing our water use and demonstrating the vital role water management must now have in today’s plant production,” he believes.
Cutting watering costs without cutting quality
Will is hoping that the introduction of compost additive Celcote, which is being supplied pre-mixed in their compost from William Sinclair Horticulture, will make it easier for them to reduce their water use and associated costs, without compromising plant quality.
After speaking to a number of growers and following a small scale trial on the nursery last autumn he realised the benefits being offered by Celcote were too significant to ignore.
“We hope to see direct results in terms of a substantial reduction in water use and also associated labour costs – expanding on what we have seen from our own trials and understanding of the product,” he comments.
“And we’re interested to explore whether we can reduce our chemical inputs too,” he notes. “With a lower humidity in the growing environment as a result of less free-water, we have a drier product and microclimate – less conducive to disease development.
Will believes that it may also reduce watering requirements during the weekends – which for this type of production can be an onerous task. “We can’t flick a switch and turn on overhead sprinklers as this would spoil the crop so the majority of watering has to be done by hand,” he explains.
Will also plans to use the fact that Celcote is routinely used as a means of enhancing the nursery’s business credentials. “It offers up a significant selling point and marketing advantage.”