Environment & Sustainability

We feel the environment deserves the same care and attention as our plants. We are always looking for ways to limit our environmental footprint. From rainwater usage and solar energy to recycling and composting, we strive to make our practices as sustainable as possible.

Growing Medium

The Farplants Group is a proud partner organisation in the joint RHS DEFRA Peat-Free Fellowship Project. We’re committed to using responsibly and sustainably sourced alternatives to peat in our growing media. As a leading voice in the industry, we’re actively working towards removing peat from production ahead of the government’s target.

All of our nurseries within the co-operative conduct extensive trials to carefully manage our transition to peat-free substrates and continually review alternative materials to find the best long-term solutions.

To date, we have reduced the peat content of our growing media on average by 70%—many key ranges, such as bulbs and herbs, are now grown 100% peat-free. We continue to move forward on our peat-free journey.

Peat Reduction
Aerial of Farplants Nurseries

Energy Saving 

The Farplants Sales finishing and distribution centre is located at the heart of our four largest production sites, significantly reducing local lorry movements. At peak times, this saves over 1,000 miles of travelling a week. The centre also installed LED lights, reducing carbon emissions by over 25 tonnes.

Across the nurseries, thermal screens, bubble plastic, and inverter driven water pumps are used in propagation and glasshouses to reduce energy consumption. At Binsted and Walberton Nurseries, solar-powered ventilation fans reduce electric usage for fertiliser and pesticide storage. The cold store at Binsted Nursery enables the site to reduce its energy use for the production of potted bulbs by 40%.

 

Renewable Energy 

The 264 solar panels erected across Binsted and Walberton Nurseries have reduced their reliance on the grid by 16%, generating 58kw of energy at peak times.

Continuing the mission to reduce energy consumption, locally sourced wood chips (within a 20-mile radius of the nurseries) power a one-megawatt biomass boiler, which heats two hectares of growing areas.

Peat Reduction
integrated pest control

Rainwater Collection 

The Farplants Sales finishing and distribution centre is located at the heart of our four largest production sites, significantly reducing local lorry movements. At peak times, this saves over 1,000 miles of travelling a week. The centre also installed LED lights, reducing carbon emissions by over 25 tonnes.

Across the nurseries, thermal screens, bubble plastic, and inverter driven water pumps are used in propagation and glasshouses to reduce energy consumption. At Binsted and Walberton Nurseries, solar-powered ventilation fans reduce electric usage for fertiliser and pesticide storage. The cold store at Binsted Nursery enables the site to reduce its energy use for the production of potted bulbs by 40%.

Irrigation 

We employ several irrigation systems to maintain our high-quality crops and efficiently use our water resources. This includes one hectare of laser-levelled capillary irrigation blocks that feed water directly to the base of the plants, which has the added advantage of keeping the foliage of sensitive plants dry and, therefore, less prone to disease. Central gullies capture and recycle water in our extensive use of V bed systems (as pictured below).

Environmental computers and weather forecasts are also utilised to maximise the efficiency of our water collection systems and minimise water waste.

Peat Reduction
integrated pest control

Integrated Crop Management

BASIS-trained in-house advisors ensure we adapt our disease and pest prevention methods to reduce their environmental impact. We select physical and biological biopesticides to control various pests and diseases ahead of traditional inorganic pesticides.

By introducing natural predators, we control whiteflies, vine weevils, aphids, spider mites, thrips and other common pests, reducing our pesticide usage per our ICM Policy.

Packaging & Recycling

We are on a continual journey to eliminate unrecyclable plastic from our products. By working with suppliers and industry bodies, we have been a key voice in replacing unrecyclable black pots with more environmentally friendly taupe pots.

Materials recycled across the group include:

  • Pots and trays
  • Cardboard
  • Polythene film
  • Wood waste
  • Green waste – composted by a local company
  • Metal
  • Glass
Peat Reduction
integrated pest control

Wildlife Habitats

There are many conservation areas across the group, including mature gardens, hedgerows, woodlands, ponds and lagoons, and a water meadow at Binsted Nursery, which was planted with 23 species of native shrubs, wildflowers and grasses.

There have been sightings of Great Crested Grebes and Adders.

Plant Pots

Our taupe pots are free from black carbon pigment and comprise more than 95% recycled material.
The lack of pigment makes it suitable for most kerbside collations.

Still, we continue to work with the wider industry to increase the acceptance of these plant pots in local authorities’ recycling facilities across the UK

Efficient Water Use
integrated pest control

Accreditation & Industry Membership

We are members of several industry associations and actively participate in discussions and working groups to help continually improve the horticultural industry:

 

  • HTA (Horticultural Trades Association)
  • Garden Centre Association
  • West Sussex Growers Association
  • Growing Media Task Force (Chaired by the HTA)
  • Environmental Horticulture Group
  • Royal Horticultural Society
  • RHS Peat – Free Fellowship
  • NFU Board for Horticulture and Potatoes
  • SEDEX

OHAS – Ornamental Horticulture Assurance Scheme

Every business in The Farplants Group meets the strict requirements of the OHAS scheme. The OHAS scheme sets high standards in legal, environmental and quality practises for the industry.

Wherever you see the OHAS logo, you can be sure that the grower is leading the way in terms of quality standards and supply chain accountability. As such, we’re proud to display the OHAS logo and promote the benefits of the scheme.

 

LEAF – Linking Environment and Farming

The LEAF scheme independently verifies each of our nurseries to meet its robust standards.

LEAF’s mission is to “inspire and enable sustainable farming that is prosperous, enriches the environment and engages local communities”.