Spalding nursery is all-year operation

Mark Short surrounded by lettuces in the greenhouse at Waterlane Nurseries in Spalding. Photo: SG280214-111NG
Mark Short surrounded by lettuces in the greenhouse at Waterlane Nurseries in Spalding. Photo: SG280214-111NG
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Being able to produce lettuce 52 weeks of the year is what Waterlane Nurseries Ltd in Spalding is all about.

That means it’s an intensive operation, with celery, Hearts of Romaine and Little Gem growing outside as well as a variety of lettuce grown under two acres of glass.

Mark Short moved into the 12-and-a-half acre site in 1990 – he and his dad Reg Short previously owned the nursery in Water Lane in Spalding, growing daffodils. Reg, who died four years ago, also grew tulips.

When Reg retired in 1988 the land was sold to house builders and Mark kept the Waterlane name for his new operation.

The outside crops are grown from May to October – the celery from June to November – but inside the greenhouse it’s an all-year operation.

A number of varieties, including butterhead, curly and a cone-shaped frizzy leaf lettuce, are grown inside, irrigation automatically controlled by computer.

In the summer months Mark is producing between five and six crops.

He said: “We are producing 600 boxes a week and in the summer months it is 1,400 to 1,500 boxes.

“Under glass in the winter lettuce crops take 14 weeks and in the middle of summer it’s four weeks.

“It’s all about being able to produce 52 weeks a year.”

Mark supplies Sainsbury’s and Morrisons and is in a co-operative of 12 growers, Snaith Salad Growers, who are sole suppliers of glasshouse lettuce to Asda.