Our Commitment To

We are absolutely thrilled to share a video made by Braintree District Council in which Oliver talks about our commitment to sustainability. It also features Farmer Matthew who grows the vegetables at Olivers Kitchen Garden.

Reduced Carbon Footprint By Growing Plants At Our Production Nursery

Our Production Nursery is located 2 miles from our Plant Centre. Growing the majority of our plants on-site  in our own Peat-Free growing media reduces the need for us to import a large number of plants with a hefty carbon footprint!

This also means that we can return tired plants to our Nursery where they can be potted on and looked after to bring them back to their best, meaning that our wastage levels remain very low.

We don’t force plants, which uses a large amount of heat and light energy. Not only is this better for the environment, but it also results in longer-lasting plants that are better acclimatised to the local weather.

Peat Free Compost

We are now Peat-Free at our Production Nursery and after extensive trials we are now bagging our own blend of professional compost. Olivers Professional 100% Peat-Free Compost information is available to view here and at the Plant Centre.

Low Energy Lighting

The grow lights we use at our Production Nursery are fitted with LED bulbs. The bulbs emit the optimum wavelengths of light needed for photosynthesis, which are red, blue and far-red, this is why the lights appear pink.

Our LEDs are far more efficient than sodium bulbs, not only do they produce specific desired wavelengths, but they also have significantly reduced heat loss by comparison. The lights also use a sensor so they turn on and off as needed.

Did You Know?

Our stick-in plant labels are fully recyclable
Once you are finished with them, they can go into your home recycling

Recyclable Labels

The informative stick-in and clip-on labels that we use on a large number of our plants are made from a fully recyclable material so they can go straight in your kerbside recycling.

We have also invested in 3 new printers that reduce our wastage by printing the exact desired number of labels and we are printing them edge to edge.

In 2022 we have also invested in a bespoke cutting machine to enable us to cut more precisely and create less waste.

Recyclable Pots & Trays

To reduce our plastic consumption, we also use reusable plastic pot trays to transport plants between the Nursery and the Plant Centre.

We expect these trays to last for many years, and we will use them countless times.

In addition we have cardboard trays for our customers to take away. These are compositable and biodegradable.

We are also researching paper plant sleeves for Houseplant transport.

Harvesting Rainwater

Both at the Plant Centre and Nursery, we harvest as much rainwater as possible to feed our irrigation systems.

We have recently constructed a new water tank at the Nursery which will store and filter 750,000 litres of rainwater, along with excess surface water runoff collected on site.

A water collection system has also been implemented at the Plant Centre that harvests surface runoff from the ground and redirects it back into the irrigation. The water is then used to irrigate the Plant Centre and the Kitchen Garden.

Soil Improver & Manure Bagged By Us

Wherever possible, we try to source products locally. Manure comes from our livestock, the soil improver and woodchip are both sourced from the surrounding area, reducing the distances that our products travel to reach us and supporting the local economy.

Biological Pest Control & Organic feed.

At Olivers Plants we are passionate about growing our plants with minimum impact on the environment, so we use biological pest control where possible rather than using chemicals. 

Biological control is an alternative to using pesticides and involves using one species or biological agent to control the population size of another species. By releasing a natural predator into the crop growing area, the number of pests can be reduced. 

We currently control aphids, Scale Insect, Sciarid Fly, Spider Mite, Citrus Mite, Vine Weevil and Thrips in this way. 

Another product we use is Invigorator which is natural and works to prevent powdery mildew and kills pests. 

We also use Biological Fungicide to kill and prevent fungus. 

Biological control is applied to the plants in several different ways including being mixed with water and small sachets of predators being placed amongst at risk plants.  

The Nursery Team must consider many factors when selecting which biological control agent to use, including temperature, humidity and the seasonal nature of pests. The Nursery Manager also needs to assess which varieties are more at risk and act to prevent problems occurring and deal with any pests present. 

Our customers not only receive healthy plants but often the plants travel home with some of the minute predators still in the soil protecting the plant for another month against attack once planted. 

In addition, we use natural Enzymes to clean the Greenhouses which eat algae and soot. 

We use organic feed and fertilizer, cutting down the need for chemicals. 

The same products are used in Oliver Professional Growing Media which can be purchased for use at home. 

Less Food Miles & better results for our customers

Our Kitchen Garden supplies fresh vegetables to our Black Horse Café therefore our ingredients travel less miles – only about 100 yards!

We are also able to test varieties to see which work best on the local soil which will help our customers have greater success with their crops too.

Heating System

We use innovative technology for the heating at our Black Horse Café. We use two separate systems that work in unison.

We use an air source heat pump to produce hot water and heating and we use a MVHR (Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery) unit to ventilate the Café.

The air volume in the building is renewed every hour and the heat from the air being discharged is utilised to heat the incoming fresh air, reducing the need for any fossil fuels.

Thank you For Reading!

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