Tomato Crop Update October 12th 1999

This year we had a total of - 10 tons - (85 tons to the acre) - which is less than the large growers, who can get over 200 tons. But we start a month later than they do and finish two months earlier in mid August to allow ourselves a break - for we are monks, primarily! The old crop was bundled out and burnt at the end of August and we are about to prepare for the 2000 tomato crop.
It has been encouraging to get feedback from our web site. Some people have asked about the costs of setting up the system and the costs of growing. It is quite expensive to set up a hydroponic system - grading the slope, putting in troughs and control equipment. Growing costs continue to rise - oil, gas for CO2, water & fertiliser. This year these items cost 16 pence for each pound of tomatoes produced. Then you have to add the cost of seed, blocks, polythene & packaging! The market price for tomatoes, in real terms, is less than it was ten years ago. This year we received an average price of 30 pence a pound. But like most growers we cannot imagine ourselves doing anything else in the production line. We enjoy the challenge of a professional work. It is very rewarding to be able to produce a superb tomato crop. We have the European Community certificate for good quality grading!
Here are some photos of the empty glasshouse. The glass must now be cleaned, the new polythene trough liners inserted and the floor covered and 101 things to be seen to. The seed will be sown on November 26th, all being well, and the plants should be ready to be transferred to the glasshouse a few days before Christmas. Think of us!

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