Winterbrook Garden Nurseries, High Rd, Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Wallingford OX10 0PS, UK

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Sustainability - Plastic free & peat free

Sustainability is an issue that has bothered me ever since taking over the nursery with my dad last September.

I was shocked at the amount of plastic waste being generated by us on the nursery. As consumers we have been shocked by the amount of plastic found in the supermarket but for some reason plastic plant pots have been forgotten & ignored.

Like most people I had an extensive pile of plastic plant pots sitting in the corner of my garden doing nothing & I didn't really take much notice of them until I started the nursery.

We decided to reuse the pots as much as possible & asked customers to return them to us which was a good start but we still wanted to stop our reliance on them & stop them leaving us as part of the plastic waste chain.

When I saw David from POSI pots on Gardeners World back in April I knew he had found a viable solution which without question we had to take up.

So along with POSI pots we have gone peat free using a sustainable compost from the Lake District & we continue our rainwater harvesting for watering our stocks.

Like most businesses we still have a way to go to get our nursery as sustainable as possible, our next mission is to find an alternative to plastic compost bags but for now we have some innovations that we hope you will agree are helpful so read below if you want some detail!

POSI pots

POSI pots are a flat pack, biodegradable cardboard plant pot which is held together with a wooden tea stirrer! 
The concept is that no traditional black plastic pots leave our nursery site & the plants bought by customers are transferred into these new cardboard pots.
The POSI pots have a life of around 2 weeks & during this time they can be watered like an ordinary pot.
The plant & POSI pot can either all go into the ground, where it will all biodegrade eventually or you can take the plant out & reuse the pot again with us when you need more plants!
Currently we are aiming to use POSI pots for all our 2 & 3 litre plants from September.

See my video to show you exactly how they work...

Dalefoot Compost

We have decided to make a move towards using sustainable compost & from September will be using peat free alternatives on site & stocking for customers to buy.

We will be selling Dalefoot Composts which are produced by Simon & Jane (a farmer & environmental scientist) in the Lake District. We will be using & supplying their Wool compost & wool compost for seeds. This peat free alternative is a blend of Potash rich bracken & Herdwick sheeps wool, which slowly releases nitrogen & improves the water retention.

All Dalefoot composts are approved for organic growing  & completely peat free & are not made from green waste. 

They also do not contain coir which has a carbon footprint as it has to be flown across the world. 

Rainwater Harvesting

At the nursery we harvest as much rainwater in our underground storage system as possible & use this to water our plants with. We have noticed a difference in the health of plants. Oxfordshire has hard water & through using rainwater we don't get the harshness of calcium/lime build up on the plants. 
We might be biased but the plants are greener & healthier looking & it helps us to be more sustainable everyday.

Electronic Plant Labels 

Currently all of our plants have an individual information label stuck onto the plastic pot, however, these labels are plastic coated to be waterproof & not sustainable so we will not be sticking on them on the POSI pots when a plant is bought, instead I have made downloadable, electronic versions of the plant labels which can be found here

This new system will help save paper & more plastic leaving the site.

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