This month we focus on Flowering Plants Ltd and their specialist solutions for the horticultural sector.
Irrigation Solutions & Systems
Francis Richardson begins their story. “Our business is about specialist irrigation systems, and working to ensure that they deliver all the additional benefits which can make a growers' life more rewarding”.
“We started with acid dosage systems to control alkalinity, which led to keeping mist and drip systems clean. Controlling alkalinity, rather than pH, prevents lock-ups, and thus improves the efficiency of fertilisers.”
Fertiliser Mixing Systems
The work on acid dosage led to the development of fertiliser mixing systems which inhibit unwanted reactions between liquid fertilisers, and usually eliminate the need for re-pumping...the original system is still working.
Acid dosage: Twin systems for well and recycled waters, with direct measurement of cation exchange capacity to stabilize HCO3 levels downstream.
Original Mist Systems
A paper for the IPPS on problems with mist systems was presented by Iain Thorne at their conference back in 2003. Several acres of FPLs’ original mist systems are still in use in the UK.
Acid dosage prevents lime scale in capillary mats, making them more efficient. That was followed in 2004 by observations of occasional, unexpected benefits when sick plants got well. That led to further work to build those benefits into Florimats.
Understanding of how beneficial microflora can work led to the evolution of a suite of techniques for abstracting, cleaning and recycling waters which we now call “the Manchester system.” A wide range of fungal and Oomycete diseases departed, and we started to carry out assays, to measure safety margins.
Florimat 2 outdoors: An early system with complete water collection and recycling.
The departure of Oomycete and fungal diseases was followed by customers telling us that bacterial diseases were disappearing from begonias growing on our matting systems. It was not until 2017 that John Ravenscroft suggested that I read Larges’ “Advance of the Fungi,” published in 1942. Tim Pettitt confirmed the same point in 2018, when he produced a note about “Proof of Principle.”
Effective Against Xylella?
In the same year, Francis was directed to a thesis, published in 1968, in the library of East Malling, of a comprehensive review of the particular target area. Work at Idaho State published in 2016 showed how the general approach, which has been so effective against fungi and Oomycetes, had been extended to clean up Xanthomonas and Xylella.
The method merely encourages naturally occurring life forms which have been shown to work. Evolved in a “common law” environment, it bypasses all the codified regulations governed by the “Roman Dutch” approach of the EU.
A simple bio-filtration system supplying and collecting from a 2 ½ acre pond.
The specific components from FPL are the “large stone bank filter “ and the Venturi system. Subsequent audits showed that the stone bank filer is three times more effective than the reed bed. To see a much larger system, follow the link here to YouTube.
FPL designed the stone bank filtration system, and advised about improving aeration with a controlled venturi. Subsequent audits in this case and elsewhere have shown that appropriate stone bank filters can be self-cleaning, and much more efficient than reed beds.
Enquiries Most Welcome
Flowering Plants welcome all enquiries about trials in nurseries and the horticultural sector in general.
Tel: 0044 (0) 1280 813764.