Hurrah for the nursery Edibleculture, whose aim is ‘to never let a plastic pot leave the premises.’ As all gardeners know this an ambitious statement to make – don’t we all have large piles of old plastic plant pots? The advent of the POSIpot is set to revolutionize horticulture retailing. Resembling a noodle pot, the biodegradable POSIpot is the brainwave of Chris Williams and David Ware of the nursery Edibleculture. They have caught the Zeitgeist.
Instead of taking home a new plant in a horrid black or green plastic pot, all plants are sold in POSIpots which can literally be planted straight into the ground. ‘The POSIpot will rot away very, very quickly’ says Chris. (posipot.co.uk) ‘If any pot gets damaged before they leave our premises, they can be recycled by shredding and composted down in the soil. ‘We feel that plastic should be an ‘in industry’ tool, to it’s daft to use a single plastic pot to transport the plant from shop to planting’. However the duo admit that for the moment they are still using plastic pots for growing plants on from seed and cuttings before transplanting them to a POSIpot for sale.
As for white plastic plant labels, forget them, wooden coffee stirrers, (the sort you get in drinks to go from fast food outlets) make an excellent substitute.
David and Chris are brimming over with imaginative environmentally friendly ideas. Another recent innovation is their ‘Bag for Life’. In 2018 they sold 40,000 litres of compost – all in unrecyclable bags. Now either Dalefoot wool based compost or Melcourt peat free compost are available in a returnable sturdy bag – ‘customers can buy more compost for less the price of the bag and exchange it for another compost filled bag’: no waiting around for a bag to be filled.
A quick glance at Edible Culture’s website confirms that it is a very unique nursery selling a fascinating range of unusual herbs from classics to heritage varieties including five different kinds of rosemary, fruit trees (it is located just a couple of miles from Brogdale, home of the national fruit collection), hedgerow plants, soft fruit, vegetables including more than 30 different varieties of tomatoes and herbaceous plants, with a special emphasis on English natives popular with bees and wildlife.
Edibleculture’s premises are in the horticulture unit that is part of the redundant vocational centre at The Abbey School, Faversham in Kent. An ancient market town which appropriately has been designated a ‘Plastic Free Town’. Chris was a pupil at the school.
‘I would help my parents in the garden after school. I always enjoyed growing and reading about plants and had my own veg patch.’ At 15 he began working part time at Brogdale. After school he studied Amenity Horticulture at the University of Greenwich based at Hadlow College whilst still managing to work part time at Brogdale. On graduating he went to work full-time at Brogdale where he remained for the next five years gaining invaluable experience, propagating fruit trees, planting and maintaining orchards.
It was at Brogdale he met David Ware, who had a background in theatre design – animation, set building and costumes but was becoming increasingly enamoured by horticulture. Chris left Brogdale after five years, setting up ‘Fruiticulture’ advising people on the care of their fruit trees as well as planting new orchards. In due course, David left Brogdale setting up ‘Ediblescape’, to grow herbs.
‘We soon found that we were often helping each other.’ They decided to join forces, setting up Edibleculture three and half years ago. David’s artistic background has proved instrumental in developing their packaging (the Bags for Life have great graphics) not forgetting the POSIpot.
The pair are rapidly gaining a reputation for their fruit trees expertise. They are happy to advise on any aspect from the purchase of one single choice ‘Heritage’ apple tree to medlars, Kentish cobs, quince and even the current vogue sweeping the south east of England for vineyards.
Traditionally fruit trees are sold wrapped in plastic with plastic stakes. Not surprisingly this is not the case at Edibleculture, who use Kentish coppiced stakes and wrap the roots in hessian. All the fruit trees are UK grown and are guaranteed for the first year. For all deliveries in Kent, Essex, East Sussex and London they will advise for 30 minutes talking through the most suitable position for the tree/trees and planting techniques.
Edibleculture is going to be featured on Gardeners World in the next few weeks. Rush along before they became super busy.