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I am now making steady progess with Autumn orders However we do have quite a backlog to get through due to loosing all the brassicas I sowed in May/June/July too caterpillars and having to re-sow everything so its backed up orders with brassicas quite a bit But I am working my way quite steadily through them so please bare with me

I am getting a bit short on some Brassica varieties but have started buying in the field grown brassicas from my Cornish supplier that I have used for the last 10 years so we will have plenty of stock the first 1200 of these are arriving on Tuesday.

Hello Customers Old and New I have some important news to share with you It is with regret that I have to announce I will no longer be doing mail order vegetable plants from the 2019 season.

Once I have finished this years Autumn season in late October early November that will be it for the veg by mail order.

I have done the veg by mail order for 12 years and its time for a new challenge, I am moving to new premises over winter so it is the perfect time to change my business model I started the Tomato business 4 years ago and that’s where my real passion lies and that has become a major success very quickly to the point where it has become physically impossible to do both without an awful lot more staff as I found out this year to my cost.

Last year of course I contracted the veg out but that didn’t work out and this year I took it back on myself and it was the biggest mistake I have ever made. I have tried to sell the veg business for the last 5 years but despite all the major seed companies as well as several independent people showing an interest nobody purchased it so its come to the point now where I just have to stop.

I am moving to bigger premises over winter where I have a large heated double span polytunnel giving me over 4000 square feet of growing space and my aim is to do my mail order tomatoes etc and then grow plants to sell via the farm shop on site and I may well do some veg plants to sell there if I have the time but my focus will be the mail order Tomatoes and then sell the Tomato plants there as well as perennials, annuals, herbs, possibly veg and anything else I can sell on site.

So I won’t be taking any orders off this site after this Autumn But you can still order Tomatoes, Aubergines, Peppers, Cucumbers, Courgettes, Squash, Herbs and maybe pumpkins

on the tomato site https://tomato-plants-direct.co.uk/ Or come and visit us at Westerleigh Park Nurseries Bristol BS37 8QZ from next spring

I want to thank the many many customers that have bought off me over the last 12 years and particularly those that continued to support me through the tougher times.

I am trying to get as many plants out to people that have ordered as I possibly can But I am sure you can appreciate this weather is causing considerable difficulties

Such As : Lettuce doesn’t germinate above 30c so with the greenhouse in the 40’s daily with the vents fully open thats an issue
Many salad items and spinach in this heat runs to seed very quickly so only gives me a very short dispatching window
Butterfly numbers have been huge this summer and its impossible to prevent them getting in the greenhouses with the roof vents open 24/7 so caterpillars have become a real problem and stripped my brassicas

So to try and get round these issues I have sown more lettuce, salad and spinach and put on outside benches in the hope the slightly lower outside temperature compared to in the greenhouses will at least allow them to germinate

Brassicas have also been re-sown and are growing on under enviromesh to prevent the butterflies getting at them

I am doing the best I can for you but this really is the worst growing season I have ever known first with the extreme cold and now the other extreme and extreme heat and i thought the weird Tomato germination last year was bad enough this even tops the summer of 2003 for me when on a nursery I used to manage in Bucks I was responsible for trying to root 50,000 poinsettia cuttings during that period when the record of 38.5c was reached in Kent and the greenhouses were regularly in the mid 40’s c

This weather is predicted and forecast to last on the whole right through August and September so I think most veg is still worth planting if thats the case the only thing that will stop summer veg growing is cold nights and if this is going to last then that is not going to be an issue and I think as time goes on our timings for planting will have to change as I think our seasons are going to gradually shift to give us colder early springs and warmer autumns and our planting ideas will need to adapt to that Ive seen it shift over the 11 yrs we have supplied veg and we have pushed the boundaries when I started 11 yrs ago it was quite rare to see veg plants in garden centres in the Autumn now its the norm and I think that is because of the success we had with Autumn veg in the early years

I am so sorry folks this season just isn’t going as I planned it, first of all everything was delayed due to the awful cold and weather in general throughout Spring then the growers that did my vegetable plants last year pulled out of doing it for this year, so I had to bring it back in house and this has all just had a massive impact on how the season has gone and after last years’ debacle with the germination on the Tomatoes it was absolutely the last start to the season I wanted. Because everything has needed to be ready and going out at once ive suffered with major space issues getting everything ready because of the tomatoes being so late ive had real space problems and of course with the very hot days weve had that makes things like Rocket, Mustard, Lettuce etc either not germinate because its too hot or bolting when it does so I have to keep re-sowing it.

I do normally prefer to do orders in the order they come in but the way this year has worked its not been possible as I have had to give the girls smaller later orders to do whilst I pick the larger earlier orders in order to maintain the amount of orders going out so were getting as many orders out per week as is possible what we have left to go is still a mix of early and later orders therefore im afraid.

There is only me and two part-timers But this year has been hugely stressful and there will be massive changes for next year and I have some very big and tough decisions to make once this season is over The business isn’t working in its current form I need more growing space and full time staff if I am to continue and the whole business model needs to change I have the experience I’ve run huge nurseries for other people.

I am still intending to get the orders out if it is at all possible and will work with what ever is best for you I do understand some of you will not be prepared to wait and all I can do is apologise again as I seem to do every year But sometimes no matter how much you plan there are things that happen you can’t just change at the drop of a hat just work with what you’ve got and what you have been dealt.

Its been quite demoralising letting people down yet again but all I can do for this season is battle on.

A few people have e-mailed me saying it’s too late / getting to late to plant now it’s absolutely NOT the seasons are changing on the whole we are getting later colder springs and more often than not warmer Autumns

A lot of places in the UK were still getting frost last week ok we’ve had periods of warmer weather but on the whole the nights have been far to cold for planting many things out.

People get anxious when the garden centres are full of plants weeks ago what you have to realise is they grow to a plan probably put down a year before their growers are huge nurseries with temperature controlled greenhouses and the contracts are such that if the garden centres cancel orders for plants because it’s too cold there will be huge penalties involved so they have to take the stock they don’t care that the growing conditions in your garden are not suitable they will put a sign up saying protect from frost so their backs are covered and hope you don’t heed their warning and come back for more when the frost has killed them all

The garden centres are full of stretched and poor looking plants because they’ve been sat their for so long

I sow according to what the spring is like ok that means you have to wait a bit because we then have a huge amount of orders to get out at once but what you will get is superb quality plants in the right condition and growth to thrive in your garden

So please consider this before sending me angry messages because I don’t like letting people down and it really hurts when I’ve passionately grown things with love and care for people to then turn round and say I don’t want them it’s too late

Happy growing Keith

The veg is now coming on nicely and I will get veg orders out as soon as I can as items come available I do still have a few seeds to sow and hope to have them all done this week So please bare with me I will get your veg out as quick as I can

URGENT MESSAGE : If I could politely ask you not to e-mail me or contact me regarding order deliveries unless its to let me know that your going away it would be very much appreciated I am getting so many I cannot physically answer them all and I don’t want you to think then I am ignoring you I’m not I just don’t have the time to keep sitting here replying to them all my time is better spent actually getting your orders out. And the evenings which is the only time I get to answer them means I am not shutting off at all from work and that’s not healthy.

Most of the veg seeds have now been sown and they are growing quite rapidly some of the things I sowed earlier in the week are already coming up and usually at this time of year it’s only takes about a fortnight for things to be ready to dispatch obviously the slower growing items it takes longer but I will do my best to get all of the orders out as fast as I possibly can I am also buying in some extra stock from elsewhere just so that I can start getting a few orders out so we’re not getting too far behind

So some of you will be receiving orders shortly but others because of the items that are on it there will be a bit of delay but it’s still pretty cold and it’s still pretty wet so I don’t think it’s going to cause too much damage as far as planting goes I wouldn’t be in too much off a panic just yet we will catch up and we will get the orders out as quick as we can so hopefully it won’t be too long now before I get the veg orders out

also I hope we have a second pair of hands starting in the next week or so so that will help me a lot and getting the orders out

I am just getting the last of the veg seed in now and should have everything ready in a couple of weeks (please see blog posts for more info on the delay or watch the video below ) If your ordering now Mid May is the earliest can do at the moment sorry due to circumstances beyond my control I am running way behind with the veg Items I can get out quicker are as follows Tomatoes, Herbs, Asparagus, Welsh Onions, ready soon will be Aubergines, Peppers, Courgettes and Cucumbers everything else will be ready shortly

Despite the currant warm weather the ground still won’t be sufficiently warm enough in some places and in many is still too wet to plant, Just because its warm and sunny don’t be in too much of a rush if your ground conditions are not right !!

The Veg sowing is well under way and I will continue sowing as seed arrives Ive had to play catch up a bit as the veg was contracted out last year to allow me to develop the Tomato side of the business But my growers are not renewing the contract for this year and I have therefore bought the growing back in house But this wasnt budgeted or planned for so ive had to do a lot of restructuring to accomodate it. I have three more large seed orders to place and hope to have them placed by the end of the week and with warmer weather due from next week things should soon catch up
 
A lot of gardens still aren’t ready for planting into yet, so I don’t think it’s too much of an issue at the moment But I want to keep you informed and up to date

Please note we are currently running behind due to the weather and a few other factors.

Most veg orders will not be going out until the second half of April at the earliest I may be able to send things like single orders for Asparagus and certain Herbs shortly as we have them ready and I may buy in some stock to get some mixed veg packs done But if you have ordered single items they are going to be a few weeks But the ground is still to wet and cold to plant out into anyway.


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