Cottage Farm Nursery, Cardington

Cottage Farm Nursery is located in the village of Cardington.  It was established in 1971 and is well known to many of our members.  It stocks a large selection of plants and the staff provide knowledgeable and friendly advice to visitors.  We were so pleased to be joined by the owner Martin Cooper for this meeting.

Martin began his talk by telling us about his early career in horticulture when he began a 3 year apprenticeship at Willington Nursery (Frosts Garden Centre is now on this site).  He then studied at Oaklands Horticultural College in Hertfordshire – we understand that Alan Titchmarsh was also a student there before he went on to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  Martin met his wife at this horticultural college and after a few years running a nursery elsewhere they moved to Cottage Farm Nursery where they have been tenants of the Whitbred family for 42 years.  The nursery supplies plants to the general public and they also have large contracts to supply plants to other organisations.

Martin’s talk was very wide ranging.  He spoke about the influence and power of the supermarkets to dictate the size and shape of fruit and vegetables, often to the    detriment of their taste.  He talked about the historical use of chemicals – many like DDT now banned but their legacy remains polluting the soil.  He discussed peat free    compost and highlighted the fact that liquid feed in the form of nitrogen is needed to supplement this.  He particularly recommended Sylvagrow compost – which is also endorsed by the RHS. Martin discussed the demise of buxus due to the box moth and suggested alternatives like yew or privet. He mentioned in particular Xylella fastidiosa this is a bacterial plant pathogen associated with serious disease in a wide range of plants and now affecting lavender bushes and olive trees in Mediterranean countries.  

Martin went on to talk about the ways in which irrigation systems and machinery has impacted the planting of seeds and transplanting of seedlings at his nursery.  He then gave us a practical demonstration of how to fill a seed tray to give maximum benefit to the seeds we sow.  He shared with us tips for placing a sheet of polystyrene over seed trays or newspaper which will keep the moisture in.  Many thanks to Martin for sharing his horticultural insight and knowledge with us.

Please join us again on Tuesday 21st May when Geoff Hodge will be encouraging us to “Grow our own Vegetables”  We look forward to seeing you then.
Linda Truscott

New members and visitors are always welcome. 
For more information contact:   Linda Truscott on 01234 270747

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