Dedicated to growing quality tomatoes under glass since 1977

Aerial view of Eric Wall Ltd HarvestingTwenty five day old tomato plant
Bumble bee pollinates tomato flowerBeehiveRipening truss
Tomato flowerPlants set outTrough system for collecting runoff
Test

Glasshouse

 

 

 

Heating And CO2

 

In the UK it is necessary to heat the glasshouses in the winter and at night in the summer. This is done using gas fired hot water boilers controlled by the computer system. The plants use up CO2 during daytime in the process of photosynthesis. To avoid depletion and indeed increase the levels flue gases are pumped from the boilers into the glasshouses. This enhances plant growth and yields.

 

During the summer months CO2 is required during the daytime but not the heat. The boilers are run during the day and the CO2 used in the glasshouse. The hot water from the boilers is stored in insulated tanks and then pumped into the glasshouses at night to heat them. This process ensures that the impact of CO2 emissions from the boilers is minimilized and in fact uses the CO2 positively with the plants giving off oxygen.

 

Over the last two years Eric Wall Ltd has reduced its energy inputs by 29% through the introduction of thermal screens in the glasshouses, upgrading insulation and tighter controls over the heating system using the computer.

 

The Company is now looking at installing a Combined Heat and Power unti which will provide heat and CO2 from the turbine while providing enough electricity for the company to be self sufficient going forward. Energy & CO2 emissions and water use are key considerations in the production of tomatoes at Eric Wall Ltd and the steps taken over the last few years has reduced the impact on the environment from this site.


 

Computer Controlled Climate

 

Each glasshouse has its own ‘weather station’ to monitor the environment 24 hours a day. Temperature, humidity and watering are all controlled by a computer. The grower can enter into the computer the required environment and it will manipulate heating, venting and watering to achieve optimum conditions for growing. Advances in this technology have enabled greater areas of glasshouses to be managed by a smaller growing team. The computer monitors the glasshouse climate constantly and raises an alarm if there is a problem at anytime, day or night.
 

Pollination Of Tomatoes Using Bumble Bees

 

Because predatory insects are used to control pests instead of pesticides, we are able to use bumble bees to pollinate the plants. Hives of bees are introduced to the greenhouses containing around eighty bees each. The hive population consists of one queen and the rest are female workers. Sadly, the bees do not produce any honey!
 

Receiving The Young Plants

 

The young plants are brought into the glasshouse in December for harvesting to begin in early March continuing through to the end of October.
 

Fully Grown Plants

 

By the end of September the plants will have grown to their full length. They will be about 30 feet long and will have produced around 30 trusses each. The nursery has around 33 miles of rows that the plants grow in and the total number of heads will reach around 360,000. The tomato plants are harvested every other day; half the nursery one day and half the next.