Not long ago we were invited to tour K&L Nurseries, a local flower farm that specialises in growing gerberas. We were shown around by owners Lyn and her husband Paul, who were great at giving us a tour around the farm.
The sheer number of gerberas was overwhelming. The huge glasshouse is made up of rows and rows of gerberas of different sizes and colours. Lyn told us that their nursery is responsible for 20% of New Zealand’s gerbera supply. Within the farm, there are over 70 different types of gerberas that they grow. It was common to find one that you would think was the same, but after closer inspection, notice the slight differences.
Their gerberas are bred in the Netherlands with tissue culture from India, which are then propagated in their glasshouse, then cultivated. Within 1-2 days of harvesting the flowers are en route to their destination, for out-of-town consignments flowers are cut to order.
We were taken into the backrooms, where they store the large machinery in charge of running the farm. It was incredible seeing the Polytechnic BioMass boiler that allowed the nursery to run. This heating machine is the first one of its kind in New Zealand and runs solely off woodchips instead of coal, so it’s a lot more energy and environmentally friendly.
We spoke a lot about the mites that can be a huge issue for flower growers. These mites come into the flowers and their leaves and slowly eat away at them. To combat this issue, K&L orders tubes that are filled with thousands of different bugs than the mites attacking the plants. These bugs are released into the glasshouse and eat the mites that attack the flowers. This system is a more environmentally conscious decision, as they avoid using harsh chemicals or sprays to try and kill the mites.
In the picture below you’ll see what the shed that comes off the glasshouse looks like. There are hundreds of buckets filled with all the different types of gerberas they grow on the farm.
K&L Nurseries is available for the public to visit Monday-Friday from 7 am-5 pm. Go and check it out for yourself!