It's a tradition now - every summer we deliver 160 tonnes of RH37 sand (medium USGA sand) to Canary Wharf for Action for Kids' beach volleyball courts. This is the tenth year they lay on the event - it starts today (9 July) and carries on to 3 August (when there will be a lot of sweeping-up to do).
The event includes a number of tournaments featuring elite players, as well as amateurs in stirring moments like the Bartenders Tournament (tomorrow) and the Agencies Challenge Cup (on 27 July).
The picture shows two of our lorries lined up on Sunday morning, waiting to discharge some of all that sand.
The grape vine (Vitis vinifera) is one of mankind's oldest friends, having been domesticated at least since the neolithic era and sought out in its wild forms long before then. England famously used to grow a great deal of wine in mediaeval times, but a colder climate during the "little Ice Age" made it generally believed to be beyond the northern limit of commercial wine production. Things changed in the 1950's, when commercial vineyards were again established in the south, and today, England has the fastest-growing vine cultivation area (proportionately) in the world.
Of course, we are there to assist. In modern viticulture on these latitudes, vines are considered to benefit from a good application of compost when they are first planted, or the year after, and then every 4 - 5 years after that. The product applied is PAS100 compliant 20mm screened compost and typically, it is applied at 50 tonnes/hectare (or 20 tonnes per acre if you are still working in imperial). The benefits of compost are threefold: weed suppression, moisture retention and soil improvement through the addition of organic matter.
However, the compost needs to get to where it provides the most benefit, which is around the vines themselves, so accurate spreading is very important. In olden days, this would mean a worker with a wheelbarrow and a spade - backbreaking and tedious work. Today, the job can be done very efficiently by mechanical means - if you have the right kit for the job. In the photo above, you can see the specialist compost spreader built by our contractor Charlie Moon - it fits very precisely between the vine rows (which are usually planted 2 metres apart - any closer than that and it's back to manual methods). It was designed based on many years' experience and can put down the precise amount of compost desired just where it's needed. The spreader is big enough - taking up to 4 tonnes of compost - to minimise the loading effort, yet small enough to fit into the narrow spaces available.
The contact for this type of work, and any other agricultural compost spreading is Peter Traill, on 01797 252298.
Here are the happy prize-winners Phil (on the left, May) and Lee (April), with their respective entries and prizes, received from our Group Chairman at a small but highly select gathering in the yard this afternoon. Thoroughly well deserved in both cases!
The June competition still has a few days to run, even though a certain entrant appears to think he has it sewn up. Prove him wrong and submit your own best shots! We will also shortly be able to disclose our new prize sponsor - watch this space...
This rather impressive facility is part of the Knauf plasterboard factory near Sittingbourne. It has one of the fastest production lines in Europe and was custom-built on a green-field site for Knauf in 1988. At the same location, they also have a plant prodcuing a wide range of gypsum plaster and jointing products.
Gypsum is also sold by us for agricultural purposes. It is a good source of sulfur and calcium for plant nutrition and for stimulating root growth. It improves acid soils, sometimes even more so than lime, and also improves soil structure to help water infiltration, as well as drainage. Finally, it helps to keep phosphorus and other nutrients from draining off farm fields.
This was a really difficult competition to judge. Ashley supplied an absolutely superb picture from Sevenoaks, replete with company logos and of very high photographic quality. It was tweeted out on the JB & Co account and practically went viral (well, by our standards anyway). I will be using that picture a great deal in future company promotions.
However, the photo competition is also about showing the company at work in different situations and additional points are awarded for originality of composition. Therefore, on reflection, the May prize goes to Phil for the above effort. A similar picture taken at the same time also did very well on Twitter, but this one, recognisably showing Rye on the hill in the background, with two lorries in action, is this month's winner!
For June, I will be looking for pictures that do not include lorries, or at least, where the lorry is not the main subject. The photos still have to feature a Bourne Group logo (perhaps a Gardenscape one this time?), and they have to be taken this month and submitted to the competition before close of business on 29th June (since the 30th is a Saturday). Good luck - keep those lovely photos coming!