Well we’ve finally had some rain! My grass is slowly turning back to a more healthy green colour instead of the drought brown that it's been for the last month. Giulia’s veg patch is glad of the rain, we’ve been watering it and the nursery a hell of a lot in recent weeks but she is already eating Courgettes, Kohl Rabi, Lettuce, Cavolo Nero, Spinach, Chard, Sorrel, Rocket and Peas fresh from the garden with lots more to come.
At the nursery we are pretty much constantly taking cuttings and propagating our succulents, there is a fairly wide window in which to do them throughout the year so we try to stagger them so we have a steady supply throughout the year. There are some that are very slow growing, some can take over a year to reach 2inchs high and be ready to leave the nursery. We’ve been collecting for years and are eagerly awaiting some new varieties to arrive from America, it's a long way for plants to come but they actually travel really well, before shipping they are bare rooted and dried before being inspected, drying the plant like this helps prevent root rot in long journeys. As they are moving between countries they are issued a phytosanitary certificate saying they are free of pests and diseases and are safe to travel. These will often be checked again at the UK border before coming on to us, just to be safe we then keep them in a 2-4 week quarantine at the nursery before being put in with the other plants. It's a lot of effort but we don't know of anyone in the UK or the EU that has these varieties, it's taken quite a lot of tracking down!
It'll then be a long process to propagate these new plants, we’ll grow them on for cuttings and seed before repeating that till we have a good stock of mother plants, then once we have plenty for ourselves we’ll be able to sell them, usually a year or two for new plants we get in, it also depends on how easy each plant its to grow!
Any plant that leaves the nursery we have to do a similar thing, we have to issue each plant with a passport that identifies the order it was sent with, the date it was issued as well as the name of the plant and our growers code. This is a scheme run by APHA (Animal Plant and Health Agency) to insure plant diseases don't move around the UK and is quite a rigorous process!
A is for the plant name, B for the growers code, C for the plant passport number for that plant and D for the location. We then keep these records for 3 years.