Jersey Plants Direct is a mail order bedding plant nursery based in Jersey, who have been operating for 10 years. They sell a year round range of Jersey grown bedding plants, shrubs, perennials, roses, bulbs and fruit & vegetable plants, suitable for any type of gardening and delivered direct to the customer’s door, with free delivery across the UK. They have two main seasons, Spring and Autumn, but also offer Winter and Christmas products. The nursery at Retreat Farm in St Lawrence is a very busy place, managed by the Director of Horticulture, Peter Clark. We were given a brief glimpse into the life of the nursery, which is described below.
The days start early, around 6am. The first thing we do, while still at home, is check the weather as this has a massive effect on what we do with the watering and how the plants react. On arriving at the nurseries the next priority is to walk the crops with the growers, and check what watering is required for the day, based on the weather. Equally important is checking the germination rooms and making sure any seedlings which are ready to come out are dealt with, as even a few hours too long can lead to stretched plants which will need to be thrown away and re-sown.
Early spring is always the hardest time to judge watering as the days are shorter, and the weather can change quickly during the day. You don’t want to water up all the plants in the early morning sunshine, then find the rest of the day is cloudy and rainy as the plants will stay wet all day. We have automatic watering systems that water the whole area using gantries, but we will still hand water in early spring to limit the amount of water used and just water dry spots. As the spring progresses it gets easier and you can safely water up most mornings.
Spring is by far the busiest period, from March to May we send out over 80% of what we grow.
After monitoring the watering it’s time to check all the other processes. The seeding department are flat out in March and can sow up to 2 million seeds a day to keep up with the tightly controlled production plan. Then there is the unrooted department to check up on, as we root over a million cuttings in the space of 6 weeks. The gapping department make sure all the plug trays are gapped to the correct number of plants, this is done by hand and on machines. The planting department will be beavering away planting up baskets, containers and trays of bedding plants.Then it’s a quick visit to the other 4 nurseries.
Finally we liaise with the packing department to check all the plants being sent to packing are of good quality, and there are the right numbers. Along the way we constantly check the environmental computers which control the temperature, humidity, vents, shade screens, and make adjustments if required, according to how the plants are growing.
At the end of the day we sit down and review what’s happened, and check the computer is all in order. At night we make sure the mobile phones are charged just in case there is an alarm, as if the boilers go down we can lose millions of pounds worth of plants in the space of 12 hours.
You can buy our plants online at www.jerseyplantsdirect.com, over the phone at 01534 871113 or by post using our priority order form available at the back of all our catalogues. You can also pop down to the shop at Retreat Farm for some bargains, or order your plants for collection at a 30% discount from catalogue prices.
Keep up to date with Jersey Plants Direct via their Facebook Page, where they also feature regular gardening tips, so it’s well worth following if you are an enthusiastic gardener.