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Better than Organic  

The crops grown by Local Salads  are all grown as sustainable as we can. We grow in a special compost blended to our own organic design and when we grow in this compost we use only pure drinking water to water the plants.We NEVER add feed to the water so we have no waste of nutrients or indeed water which is of course our most precious commodity in the world.

Hydroponics  

This is the standard method of large-scale production which involves setting the roots of the plants in a inert material like Rock-wool insulation, rather than soil. These grow-bags are perfect for providing a really good, spongy anchor for the plant roots and they're recycled afterwards. The baby plants are normally bought from specialist nurseries and placed on their grow bag. A dripper provides them with a mix of water and plant food with amounts given dependent on the variety growing, the time of day, the external weather conditions and light levels, and the desired growth rate of the plant. The system is controlled by a central computer. The skills of the grower are key to getting this balance just right, with each grower using technology and computer science to help achieve perfection.The plants can grow to great lengths. Pepper plants will reach several metres tall, and some varieties of tomato plants will reach over 15 metres in total. We adjust the height of the base of the plants to put them at the best height for those tending to them. All the tending and picking is done by hand. Additional light is used in the tomato greenhouse to enable production of tomatoes for 12 months of the year. Most UK growers can only produce for 9 months of the year, so this innovation gives the opportunity to provide high quality and consistent tomatoes all year round. We extend the plants' exposure to daylight (with blinds closed to minimise the waste of energy) giving us good crop yields right through the depths of winter. The lights are used in our winter production months from around midnight until either the external light levels are considered sufficient to turn them off, or until around 3pm when we export our electricity to the National Grid to meet the increased domestic demand. The plants are then left to 'go to sleep' with the disappearing natural daylight. Aside from light, water and food, each plant needs heat and carbon dioxide. We therefore use a CHP (combined heat and power) system to help with this. Each greenhouse has its own power station, using natural gas to power an engine that produces electricity. We sell the majority of the electricity we produce to the National Grid. The by-products of this process are heat and carbon dioxide. Normally these would be released into the atmosphere via a cooling tower but the clever part about Thanet Earth is that we need those very by-products as an essential ingredient to grow our crops. We therefore harness the heat via hot water tanks and pump the carbon dioxide into the greenhouses where it's fully utilised by our plants. This system is what makes Modern Nurseries so environmentally-friendly, The electricity can be used by homes and businesses as well as the Nursery. Once ready, the crops are harvested and put through a factory where they are packed for the supermarket shelves.