What and how we grow
We grow several different varieties of raspberry, all with their own unique characteristics. Using these varieties and different growing systems we now harvest raspberries from mid-April until mid-November.
All of our raspberries are grown under cover using polythene covered tunnels.
The tunnels provide protection from the inclement weather we sometimes experience in England. Both rain and wind can affect the quality of our fruit. The tunnels also allow us to work and harvest when the weather is poor and to extend our harvesting season.
Each raspberry plant is grown in a 4.7litre pot which is filled with coir (processed coconut husk). In each pot there is a dripper which delivers all the water and nutrients the plant requires during its lifetime.
The irrigation system that delivers all the water and nutrients is computer controlled to aid accuracy
and reduce over watering and over feeding. In each field there are sensors in some of the pots
which “tell” the system when the plants need water. We decide how much feed the plant receives depending on the growth stage it’s at.
Once the canes have finished cropping, we remove the pots which are reused or recycled. The plant, plus root ball is then pulverised in the field and this material is taken away by neighbouring farmers to be spread as a way of adding organic matter to their fields. We are left with a clean empty field with no waste.
We currently only grow one variety of strawberry. This variety is called an “Everbearer” which means it produces flower and fruit at the same time. This allows us to harvest over a long period, typically
from early June until early October.
As with the raspberries, our strawberries are grown under cover.
The strawberries are grown in bags containing coir. These are placed on gutters supported 1.4m up in the air. This reduces the risk of soil borne pests and diseases, makes working with the plants easier and increases the efficiency of picking the fruit.
Each bag has four drippers which supply all of the water and nutrients the plants require. This system
is also computer controlled.
At the end of the harvest we remove the plants which are pulverised in the tunnel, cut away and remove the plastic bag (which are recycled). The coir and root mass left behind is then pulverised and collected for removal from the field.
This material is taken away by neighbouring farmers to be spread as a way of adding organic matter to their fields. We are left with a clean empty field with no waste.