Langthorns Plantery encourages its customers to wash and return its pots and trays for recycling. Secondly, if not able to return pots and trays to the original supplier Langthorns Plantery sanitises and re-uses the pots and trays in its own growing and re-potting side of the business. Thirdly, it supports local schools and amateur gardening clubs with access to the pots for free. This has ensured that the only pots that are sent to the waste contractor are damaged and not fit for purpose.
Cardboard is used to supply plants by post, this is done using cardboard from FSC certifiable sources of supply and recycled cardboard.
Another source of cardboard that is regularly used is from a local international superstore that allows Langthorns Plantery to re-use its cardboard trays as containers to transport multiple plants bought by its customers. This has the benefit of helping the local supermarket reduce its own recycling of waste to landfill and also allows the packaging to be used for the benefit of transporting plants in Langthorns Plantery customers vehicles keeping their cars free from soil.
Waste growing mediums and dead plants are composted and the compost once it has broken down is spread over the fields as a fertiliser i.e. the nutrients are returned back into the earth. None is sent to landfill.
Integrated pest management.
Langthorns Plantery has since 2013 looked at use of human and biological controls rather than use chemicals as part of its weed and pesticide management processes. The number of processes that have been used has grown over the last two years to include the following:
- Amblyseius Andersoni – predatory mite used to protect against red spider mite, gall mite and russet mite and others.
- NEMASYS (Heterorhabitis sp) – nematode used in plant protection against garden chafer and black vine weevil.
- NEMASYS L (Steinernoma Karausii) – nematode used in plant protection at low temperature against the vine weevil.
- PHYTOSEIULUS (vermiculite) – Predatory mite that actively hunts and attacks all stages of mites.
- APHIDIUS COLEMANI – a natural parasite used to protect against aphids.
- SERENADE – a bio fungicide.
- ENCARSIA - predatory fly used to protect against whitefly
- APHIDOLETES APHIDIMYZA - predatory midge used to protect against aphids.
- GASTROPODS – handpicked when sweeping and moving pots.
Langthorns Plantery is in constant contact with its suppliers and forums in reviewing natural ways of controlling diseases that affect its product lines throughout the calendar/ gardening year.
Horticulture is a major facet in the control of climate change; The UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2016) reported that domestic gardens account for 18% of urban land use, a significant figure. Environmental management is not just about one thing but a mixed bag of bio-diversity: Helping the UK’s fauna survive our unpredictable weather but also to be a fungicide and pesticide free environment; carbon footprint changes; the use of recycling; our use of water; and management of the Earths natural resources in a controlled, managed and sustainable manner.
Langthorns Plantery has over the years been striving to do its small bit by use of naturalised hardy plants that feed, attract and combine to give a more bio-diverse environment for the benefit of the UK’s diverse mix of birds, butterflies, bees, insects and invertebrates. Also with it’s in depth knowledge of weed management and plant variety for all 12 months of the year to allow its customers and supply chain to profit on many different levels.
Langthorns Plantery has a borehole and draws from that to hydrate its crops, but overall water stewardship is a crucial mind-set embedded in the processes to not waste water. This requires individual watering of each pot and only using the airborne vapour system if being used as a pre-watering process or leaf hydrating exercise but only if the wind direction is correct. This individual watering system is labour intensive but does mean that each plant gets the correct amount of watering. Additionally, an upside is any problems with a plant are seen at an earlier point and can be remedied.
The amount of water used throughout the year is dependant upon the British weather.
Rainwater is allowed to soak through and back to the natural aquifer.
Plants from the supply chain are from countries that have little or no water scarcity as outlined by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).
Langthorns Plantery is constantly planting new trees within its own borders and built (still evolving) its own pond ecosystem as part of its land and pest management ecosystem. New hedging has been installed to provide habitat for wildlife.
Langthorns Plantery over the past fifteen years has conducted a number experiments with suppliers on the use of peat free compounds, these trials have now seen us move to a peat free provision of growing mediums. However, this is still an area of concern to Langthorns and the industry as a whole and one that has an increasing amount of research and development being undertaken. Just prior to partaking in this renewal application programme, Langthorns Plantery had taken the decision to source a new trial of peat free growing medium for both internal use and for resale to retail customers based upon the use of UK bracken and sheep wool. The hydroscopic properties of sheep’s wool should result in better water conservation (Dalefoot Composts, 2018). The senior management are aware of the horticultural industries commitment to the 2030 target of being peat free and is keen to experiment in this area. This is a commercially sensitive area and one that has a competitive advantage against others. It is however a case of finding which plants is best suited and meet the stakeholders needs.
We have extensively trialled the Melcourt silvagrow range of peat free composts since 2016 and in collusion with Melcourt have devised our own recipe based on the silvagrow model that we now use to grow all our plants in and sell to the general public.
We have also trialled and are very happy with the results from the Field compost range of peat free composts that are locally produced in Cambridgeshire that we also sell to the general public.
The installation of 5 gardeners bee-hives (https://gardenersbeehive.com/ ). This has three major advantages – pollination of plants at the Plantery, honey will be harvested from year three.
Langthorns Plantery uses very little electrical light, only in its sales area, as we utilise natural light within its greenhouses and poly tunnels.
The use of gas is limited to protecting any plants that need the extra heat to survive British weather until being able to be sold.
A new (second hand) forklift truck was obtained to replace the older less efficient forklift.
Langthorns Plantery has looked at incorporating renewable energy sources in the past and has not made the change due to it not meeting its commercial targets of return on investment. However it keeps this situation under review and is not adverse to its introduction but only under its capital return on investment policy.
From a supply perspective Langthorns Plantery utilises the supplier’s use of consolidated shipments to itself to ensure that carbon emissions are kept to a minimum.
Customers either utilise the use of our Royal Mail service or their own transport. The Plantery also utilises the use of a consolidated delivery service to deliver more bulky/heavy items/orders to customers in an effort to keep costs and carbon footprint to a minimum.
Due to being in a rural setting most employees will either car share if possible or come to work on a push bike, even as far away as sixteen miles where applicable! Many part-time workers fit the journey into one where they are dropping off or collecting children from school.
From a longer term perspective engage in the methods of reducing impact in relation to the guidance document from DEFRA Small Business User Guide: Guidance on how to measure and report your greenhouse gas emissions.
|Energy used in Buildings & Processes (kWh)||1324||662||993|
|Total Energy (kWh)||13394||14831||10784|
|Total Emissions (KgCO2e)||3198||3555||2595|
|Equivalence in Carbon (kg)||873.1||970.5||708.4|
Supply chain resilience.
Langthorns Plantery has undertaken to enquire of all its major suppliers to ensure we understand what they are doing to eradicate modern day slavery, if any, from their supply chains and that they are actively engaging to meet ILO protocols and conventions with regard to their supply chains.
For organisations that come under UK regulations we will be looking to statements that must be made under the Modern Day Slavery Act, 2015.
We will also be asking the suppliers of our plants as to their use of gang masters and the policies and procedures that they have in place to ensure that they are abiding to ILO standards as a minimum.
Langthorns Plantery has reviewed and will ensure that it always exceeds the base expectation as set by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code that we now have a copy of on file.
One example of this in recent years is the installation of 5 gardeners bee-hives (https://gardenersbeehive.com/ ). This has three major advantages – pollination of plants at the Plantery, honey will be harvested from year three and most importantly another local business can showcase their wares to a larger number of potential customers at a much lower cost.
We work closely with Dunmow fencing promoting their products actively to our customers. (https://www.dunmowfencingsupplies.co.uk/)
Field Composts is a local peat free compost company that we use, sell and promote their products. (https://www.fieldcompost.co.uk/)
Dalefoot Composts is a UK company producing a 100% bracken and wool compost that has a high level of natural potash and hydroscopic properties that aid water retention and feeds plants.
Langthorns Plantery looks to help local schools, businesses, charities and social organisations by supporting horticultural initiatives, helping in recycle/reuse of resources and by acting as a conduit to access complementary businesses.
Another example is our efforts to encourage schools and local gardening clubs to utilise our excess pots for their own use and to attend masterclasses and tours at the Plantery.
As a rural business Langthorns Plantery is aware of rural isolation and endeavours to be a place of work where the customer is seen as a part of the family for chat and upskilling of knowledge.
Langthorns Plantery endeavours to pay higher than the minimum wage and is moving towards the living wage for all its workers.
As an employer a love of plants, trees or shrubs is the only pre-requisite to joining this horticultural business as can be seen by the tagline ‘we live plants; we love plants.’ Knowledge will be imparted from the ‘family,’ a desire to embed yourself within the horticultural bank of knowledge is the only true commitment asked for.