Kirton Farm Nurseries Ltd, home of the Hairy Pot Plant Co, is a wholesale nursery based in Winchester, Hampshire. Established in 1984, they grow herbs and herbaceous perennials as sustainably as possible, using peat-free compost and their very own brand of ‘hairy’ coir pots, which are planted straight into the ground with no waste plastic. Kirton supplies over half a million plugs every year to suppliers across the UK. They have a specialised propagation unit and an on-site laboratory growth room, which creates the perfect environment both for developing high-quality stock to pot on and to supply growers who require large quantities of specific varieties.
The team is passionate about conserving the environment and growing its business in a sustainable way. Reducing the carbon footprint of their operation is an essential part of Kirton’s overall sustainability effort. They target lower energy consumption through a variety of ways such as new technology, usage monitoring, optimised heat and lighting programmes, extra insulation and improving staff awareness.
Kirton approached INDO in 2019, looking for a replacement light system to upgrade their existing 400W HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) set-up. They propagate plants all-year-round in their growth laboratory and weaning tunnels, which is where they need extra assistance with lighting to increase day length and season extension.
The nursery has been using HPS lights for around 12 years and 3 years ago started the process of upgrading to LED with an alternative system in the growth laboratory and propagation beds. Having spoken to peers in the industry who’d said how good the INDO system was, in 2019, rather than extending the area with the same lights, they decided to trial the ELEMENT grow lighting units instead.
- Better all-round light spectrum, which is closer to sunlight than HPS
- More white light enabling staff to be able to work more comfortably in the area for long periods
- Better spread of light across the production beds
- Reduce energy costs
Derek Taylor, Managing Director at Kirton said
When I first thought about extending our lighting area in our prop unit, we’d already got some LED lights in which worked pretty well so were thinking we’d just extend the area with the same lights but in fact, we heard from another grower that had used INDO Lighting who said how good it was, that it was good value and potentially longer lasting than the older LED units that we had.
In the year we’ve had so far, we’ve definitely had better growth overall and a more even light output over the whole bed. Overall we’ve found the whole INDO package very easy to work with, pretty idiot-proof really. The INDO units just do the job – easy to install, easy to run, cheap to run, the plants like it. We were able to see a clear difference in the plants and the whole team much prefer working under them too
I’d be happy to recommend the INDO lighting system, certainly for the prop work that we’ve done with it; it’s really good, the plant quality has been fantastic, lovely and easy to work under compared with the original LED system. The plants have grown really well, its good value for money and we are hoping the life of the system will be fairly stress-free and a lot longer than potentially the old system was.