Peat Free for 2023!
At Thompson’s we share the public’s concern in reducing peat use to help minimise the effects of global peat extraction on peat bog habitats. That’s why we are going Peat Free!
- All of the compost and growing media we purchase from our suppliers is now Peat Free.
- We will be selling through all of the Peat based growing media we still have in stock.
- Once Peat based stock has sold, Peat Free alternatives will be available to our customers.
- We are aiming to only sell Peat Free growing media by the summer of 2023.
Growing Peat Free Plants
The big challenge to us as growers is producing high quality plants for our customers. We are finding that there is not enough green waste alternative products being produced by manufacturers at the moment for our growing nurseries. It is gradually changing, but taking time.
In 2022 we trialled peat free growing at our Greentiles nursery on the Isle of Wight. Key plant categories such as herbs, alpines, perennials and some bedding plants are now being grown peat free. Our Woodlands and Motspur Park nurseries are 40% reduced peat compost, aiming to be at 50% by the start of 2023.
War on Plastic
Since 2020 our nurseries have been growing plants in recyclable coloured plastic pots that are made from post consumable recycled material. They are 100% recyclable, and the raw material cycle is what they call a closed-loop. These pots can then be recycled kerbside by consumers. Look out for blue pots for our bedding plants range, herbs and vegetables. Grey pots are for all our shrubs, perennials and climbers
Our nurseries are able to store rainwater in large tanks to enable us to reuse it on our plants. This has dramatically cut down our on-site usage.
90% of our plants are grown on our very own nurseries, which are all based in the south east of England. To put this into context our Woodlands nursery, which grows all our shrubs as well as some perennials and climbers, is just over the road from our Petham Garden Centre. That's zero plant miles! from there it is approximately 50 miles to our Chislehurst & Welling garden centres and 120 to our Isle of Wight garden centre.
Our Greentiles Nursery on the Isle of Wight, grows our perennials, alpines and herbs. They are less than a mile from our Newchurch Garden centre. All of our bedding plants are grown at our Motspur Park nursery which is in Surrey. This is around 40 miles away from our Chislehurst & Welling garden centres.
Sustainable Christmas Tree Farming
Thompson’s have been growing our own Christmas trees on the Isle of Wight for over 20 years now. A small team of knowledgeable, experienced, dedicated staff, lead by our head grower Peter, manage a 130 acre nursery that has close to 100,000 trees growing.
We are members of The British Christmas Tree Growers Association, who believe in the sustainable farming of Christmas trees. Did you know that the trees grow from taking carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas CO2, out of the atmosphere. One Christmas tree will then release enough clean oxygen for at least 18 people!
For every tree that’s cut, another is planted, so there’s always a constant cycle of growing Christmas trees. This Spring we planted 7000 Nordman Fir trees and 3500 Spruce, some of which will still be in the ground 20 years from now.
Several years ago now, we installed bee hives on the nursery. Bees are so crucial to the environment, pollinating plants, helping plants to grow, breeding and producing food.
This year the beekeepers have had a nice lot of honey off the hives! On the right is a short video with Peter and the bee hives on the nursery, so you can see them in action yourself.
On our Christmas tree nursery on the Isle of Wight, a reservoir was built about 30 years ago. It was landscaped all around the edges and, over the subsequent years, has matured into a wildlife haven. We reuse the water from the lake to irrigate fresh planting on the nursery.
The lake itself has a good range of fish as well as an abundance of beautiful Dragonflies and Damselflies, Coots, and Moorhens, and you can also find a resident Kingfisher. The trees surrounding the lake are homes to many birds, including Nuthatches, Tree Creepers and Woodpeckers.
Out amongst the rows of Christmas trees, you might be lucky enough to see the local Buzzard perched on top of the larger trees or swooping down to catch its prey. You’ll often find giant grasshoppers jumping out at you whilst brushing through the trees. All of this creates a fantastic eco-friendly wildlife haven that spans the whole 130-acre site.