Buy seeds the easy way

Country Smallholding - - Feature - Nick­er­son Di­rect

Nick­er­son Di­rect is the on­line plat­form for grow­ers to pur­chase qual­ity seed prod­ucts and brands from the lead­ing UK for­age and amenity seed sup­plier.

Th­ese are de­signed for small­hold­ers and farm­ers who need a se­lec­tion of seeds spe­cific to their end use and grown in a va­ri­ety of sit­u­a­tions.

The com­pany’s range of en­vi­ron­men­tal seeds in­cludes pollen and nec­tar mix­tures de­signed to at­tract bees and pol­li­na­tors. “We also of­fer mix­tures con­tain­ing an­nual and peren­nial wild flow­ers that are per­fect for field mar­gin use or to in­cor­po­rate into land­scap­ing,” they said. “You will find prod­ucts to feed an­i­mals, eques­trian grass seed and prod­ucts that im­prove soil.

“The on­line shop com­ple­ments our seed spe­cial­ist tech­ni­cal team who can pro­vide sup­port and ad­vice about all the prod­ucts.

“Th­ese prod­ucts are of­fered in small pack sizes, ide­ally suited to grow­ers with small ar­eas of land. De­liv­ery is free of charge but Nick­er­son Di­rect also of­fers a col­lec­tion ser­vice from the Witham St. Hughes/ Lin­coln area.” MORE: Grow­ers can ac­cess the site at www. nick­er­son­di­rect.co.uk, or call 01427 371661 for prod­uct ad­vice. Equipad­dock is a com­bi­na­tion of three rye­grasses and is very ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing good yields of high-qual­ity horse hay. Phacelia has bril­liant blue flow­ers which at­tract a large num­ber of pol­li­na­tors.

both sides, pro­vid­ing all-round greater flex­i­bil­ity. De­pend­ing on the weather, plants such as cu­cum­ber, tomato and melon can pro­duce fruit well into Novem­ber and some­times De­cem­ber, so it’s well worth leav­ing them in the ground still.

TIP Have fun ex­per­i­ment­ing. Last au­tumn I planted lots of car­rot seeds out for the first time, which with the milder weather means I was re­warded with lots of fan­tas­tic baby car­rot pick­ings in Jan­uary.

Valu­able ex­tra light

As al­ready men­tioned; I’d be hard pushed to grow de­cent toma­toes, cu­cum­bers or pep­pers in my gar­den in West Wales with­out some form of cover. Grow­ing un­der plas­tic also gives me room to ex­per­i­ment with more ad­ven­tur­ous pro­duce.

TIP The key here is mak­ing sure your poly­tun­nel is clean in­side and out to en­sure your plants get as much light as pos­si­ble, es­pe­cially this time of year. Also any rips to the plas­tic need to patched straight away to stop cold air get­ting in and the holes get­ting any big­ger.

Seed sav­ing

If you’d like to ex­tend your seed sav­ing ef­forts, a poly­tun­nel will help im­mensely. It al­lows you to safely over­win­ter more sen­si­tive bi­en­ni­als such as car­rots, pars­ley, beet­root and swede so they can suc­cess­fully flower and set seed the fol­low­ing year. TIP

Seed sav­ing from one type of bras­sica each year also re­duces the chances of plants cross­ing (which hap­pens when two types of bras­sica are in flower at the same time). You’ll need to grow about 20 plants ide­ally to en­sure long-term ge­netic vi­a­bil­ity (in other words if you want to keep sav­ing from the same stock in the fu­ture). I’d also rec­om­mend sprouts or kale as the eas­i­est with which to start and be­cause you can still col­lect a har­vest from them in the mean­time.

Where to buy

There are many dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies across the UK sell­ing a range of struc­tures in all dif­fer­ent sizes. Here are just some of the best op­tions on of­fer.

Pre­mier Poly­tun­nels

This com­pany sells a wide se­lec­tion of dif­fer­ent struc­tures, in­clud­ing a good choice of com­mer­cial poly­tun­nels ideal for small­hold­ers look­ing to sell some of their pro­duce. On the larger end, their 16ft-wide x 24ft-long op­tion, which in­cludes the steel frame­work (made us­ing 50mm di­am­e­ter steel hoops), tim­ber door frames and dou­ble hinged doors at each end, 720 gauge/180 mi­cron Ther­mal Anti Drip poly­thene cover, and Anti Hot Spot Tape, re­tails at £1,140 in­clud­ing VAT. The com­pany also sells ac­ces­sories and ad­di­tions to en­able cus­tomers to en­hance and cus­tomise the poly­tun­nel to suit their in­di­vid­ual needs.

www.pre­mier­poly­tun­nels.co.uk

Fer­ry­man Poly­tun­nels Ltd

A fam­ily busi­ness, based in Devon, the com­pany de­liv­ers na­tion­ally and aims to pro­vide qual­ity prod­ucts and per­sonal ser­vice at a rea­son­able price. They sell sizes rang­ing from 8ft to 24ft wide (2.4m to 7.3m) with lengths to suit, plus a full range of cov­ers and ac­ces­sories.

www.fer­ry­man­poly­tun­nels.co.uk

Keder Green­house

At the higher end of the mar­ket­place, this com­pany of­fers a range of su­per­charged, strong struc­tures that of­fer op­ti­mum grow­ing for even the harsh­est cli­mate. They have been proven to with­stand the winds of the Falk­land Is­lands, the snows of the Scot­tish High­lands and the soar­ing sum­mer tem­per­a­tures of main­land Europe.

They sell a va­ri­ety of unique styles and sizes to meet the needs of ev­ery grower. Their frames are man­u­fac­tured from ZN35 high ten­sile struc­tural steel, which is al­most twice as strong when com­pared to stan­dard steel tub­ing. Their spe­cial bub­ble de­sign plas­tic also ef­fec­tively com­bines light trans­parency with good heat in­su­la­tion (sta­bil­is­ing sum­mer day­time tem­per­a­tures as well as re­tain­ing heat overnight). Their larger struc­tures (4m wide and above) also in­clude man­ual outer wall vents to en­able air cir­cu­la­tion and green-house gut­ter­ing to pro­vide rain wa­ter har­vest­ing is in­te­gral.

It’s a cost ef­fec­tive al­ter­na­tive to tra­di­tional glasshouses.

www.ked­er­green­house.co.uk

A bee on Phacelia

Equipad­dock is a com­bi­na­tion of rye­grasses and can pro­duce good yields of high-qual­ity horse hay

Clean­ing the poly­tun­nel

Poly­tun­nels can also pro­vide shelter for live­stock dur­ing ex­treme cir­cum­stances, such as the cur­rent bird flu out­break

Keder’s 4m struc­ture with out­rig­gers in an ex­treme lo­ca­tion

Keder’s 4 x 6m stan­dard model

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