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How We Grow Our Plants

How we grow our plants

Have you ever wondered how your plants are grown?

Let us take you behind the scenes, at our Saga Garden Centre Nursery based in the beautiful and sunny Island of Jersey, so you can see how we grow our beautiful plants with love and care, just for your pleasure.

From a simple seed to a superb specimen.

Our experience and love of plants will take this process

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Seed Arrival

1. Seed Arrival

This bucket contains an astonishing 2 million seeds, but of course, we have not counted every one! On arrival, the seeds are checked carefully to ensure they are of good quality, and if they pass our rigorous tests they are then stored in a secure temperature controlled environment until we are ready to start the sowing stage.

The Hopper

2. The Hopper

When the sowing stage starts, the seeds are placed into the hopper which vibrates to ensure any dust and dirt are shaken away and that each seed is entirely separate. It is a bit like rocking a baby before you put it to bed, no pun intended! Next the seed is placed on the seeding plate ready to go onto the next stage

Seed Plate

3. Seed Plate

We have different sized seed plates for different sized seeds. Here you can see the seeds in place on the plate, each tiny seed is held in each tiny hole with gentle suction. These particular almost microscopic green seeds will one day grow up to be beautiful and fragrant Geraniums

Shredding Compost

4. Shredding Compost

It goes without saying that we use a huge amount of compost and it is delivered tightly compressed in large bales. We break the bales into manageable chunks by hand and load them onto the shredding machine as it is very important that the growing medium is as aerated and finely sifted as possible, to make a comfortable and nourishing bed for our precious little seeds.

Tray Filling

5. Tray Filling

Once the compost preparation is complete, we load the plant trays onto the conveyer to be filled to the brim and made ready for their new occupants.

Dibbling Unit

6. Dibbling Unit

Yes, it is really called a Dibbling Unit! When this wonderful dibbling unit is in the correct position over the plant tray it is then lowered down and each little 'dibbler' makes a small indentation in the shredded compost. like a little cradle for the seeds.

Seed Sowing

7. Seed Sowing

Getting back to the Hopper, which you will remember separated and distributed the seeds and ensured their correct position on the seed plate, well this is now manoeuvred into place and it now gently deposits a single seed in every cell of the compost filled trays.

Vermiculite

8. Vermiculite

The final stage of this long but careful process of seed sowing is to add a fine layer of vermiculite over each seed. This little blanket of vermiculite helps hold the tiny seeds in place and also keeps them warm but moist. So now the little seeds are safe and snug in their beds for the next month or so.

Germination

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Germination Preparation

1. Germination Preparation

Once the vermiculite has been added, the trays are moved on benches to the glasshouse. The high humidity in this section encourages the seeds to recognise that the time has come to spring into life and send up that little green shoot that will eventually become a beautiful plant.

Frogging the seed trays

2. Fogging the seed trays

Here you can see the fogging in progress. Fogging is the term given to an ultra fine spray of water droplets, it does look like fog from a distance. This fine spray combined with the high temperature we create in this nursery area provides the perfect environment for the seeds to start their germination process.

Germination

3. Germination

It takes between 3 and 10 days of careful nurturing (depending on variety) in the fogging section for the seed to reach this stage. Getting this part exactly right is essential to the quality of the plant and its eventual performance so great care is taken in the control of this particular environment. It is a joyous moment when each little seed shows the tiniest speck of green, and we know we have been successful yet again.

Germination - Final Stage

4. Final stage of Germination

Once the seeds have germinated and are at the stage shown they are moved into the gapping section of the glasshouse, fogging is no longer carried out in this section.

Quality & Value for money always from Saga Garden Centre in Jersey

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A Healthy Plant in Every Cell

1. A healthy plant in every cell

When the plants are between 2 to 4 weeks old, we carry out the gapping procedure. Each tray is meticulously checked by staff to ensure that there is a healthy plant in each cell. If the seedling in the tray is not up to scratch, out it comes!

Recycled Tooling

2. Recycled Tooling

If a cell is empty or the plant does not look healthy it is removed. We use a small piece of plastic with a central groove to remove the unseeded plant. The tool is one that we have adapted and made ourselves, recycled from old guttering, we are definitely a creative and inventive bunch.

Filling the Gaps - Gapping

3. Filling the gaps...'Gapping'

Here you can see a healthy specimen being transplanted into an empty cell. This is what we call 'gapping'. This ensures that each cell has a healthy plant that will thrive. As you can imagine the skill we most need from the staff we choose for this job is steady hands and great eyesight!

Quality & Value for Money

4. Quality & Value for money

Although most of our processes are time-consuming this is an important part of our quality control and means that we can guarantee lovingly nurtured plants and great value for money. The end result ensures that every product you receive from us, here at Saga Garden Centre will be a tribute to the commitment we demonstrate when growing our plants

                                  "Happiness held is the seed; Happiness shared is the flower."