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AutoPot News - 2014

2015: An Exciting Year Ahead!

This year has been amazing; extremely busy and full of exciting growth, both for us as a company and for our clients and suppliers. We’ve welcomed new staff members who have settled in nicely to the AutoPot team and everyone is looking forward to our Christmas party in December, where we can all let our hair down! Hopefully our hard work will continue to pay off in 2015 – stay tuned for future newsletters and keep checking our Facebook page for updates!

From New Caledonia to the UAE

New Caledonia is an exciting new territory for us and earlier in the year we attended a trade show there with our distributor Jardin Eco L’eau. It was a busy show and very productive! 50 homes are now equipped with AutoPot systems and we received serious interest from commercial farmers. Keep an eye out for more updates from this market in the future!

Last month we exhibited at back to back trade shows in Naples, Italy and Prague, Czech Republic. At the Naples show we exhibited with our distributor – Indoorline – and in Prague we exhibited with our Czech distributor – Whale Czech. Both shows were really busy and it was great to speak to retailers and growers from different countries about their experiences with our systems. A big thank you to all of our distributors for their kind hospitality.

We’re also pleased to announce that our distributor in the UAE continues to make excellent progress in both retail and commercial markets. Hassan Abu Nejim will be distributing our 4Pot Systems through several large shopping malls in Dubai and will be using several large easy2grow systems for commercial trials.

Click here for more information on commercial applications.

New Spanish Website

You may remember from our last newsletter, that we recently welcomed Elena Perez to our team to manage the Spanish division of AutoPot. Well – alongside visiting retailers, distributors and commercial farmers - Elena’s been working away on our new Spanish website and she’s pleased to announce that it’s almost ready to go live. Our new website is crucial to our development of the Spanish speaking markets in Europe and South America; the warmer climates combined with AutoPot’s effective water saving ingenuity mean we’re creating quite an impact over there.

 

Check out our Facebook page for updates on the new website. Click here

Facebook Chilli Appeal

We love chatting with our customers on Facebook, it gives us a chance to get real time feedback on our systems and share experiences with other growers. Chilli growers in particular are an active bunch on social media, so last month Jason ran a little Facebook competition asking for chilli heads to send in some of their AutoPot grown produce for us to sample, in return for one of our 4Pot Systems. We’ve received the samples over the last few weeks and are seriously impressed with the quality of the produce and packaging. Also, some of this stuff was really hot! So much so that we had to enlist the help of a professional chilli head to taste some of it, it was a bit too much for some of us in the office. Phew!

Thank you to all that took part, your 4Pot Systems are in the post.

We’ll be running more competitions in 2015. To join in simply follow us on Facebook and stay updated. Click here to view our Facebook page.

New team members!

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to the two newest members of the AutoPot team:

easy2GO Kit

Leah Symes has joined us as a Project Manager and brings a wealth of experience in office management. Contact Leah on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

easy2GO Kit

Elena Perez has joined us as Business Manager for Spanish speaking countries and will be a familiar face to many people in the European market. Contact Elena on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Two trade shows in one week!

Never let it be said that we like an easy life at AutoPot HQ! September saw us exhibit at two of the largest UK trade shows… in the same week! Glee 2014 is a trade-only expo for the gardening retail and leisure industry and took place in the middle of September.

Westshore

We tailored our booth around the launch of our easy2GO Kit and spoke to lots of garden retailers who were visiting the show to pick up products for next years’ season. The response was great, with many of them commenting on the simplicity of the product and the colourful packaging and point-of-sale displays. Keep your eyes peeled for our easy2GO Kit in your local garden centre next year.

Just a few days later we were at the ExCeL in London as GROW2014 saw the hydroponics industry make a welcome return to the capital. It’s the first time London has seen a trade show focussed solely on hydroponics in over a decade and visitors turned up in their thousands, all keen to learn about the latest technologies and growing techniques.

easy2GO Kit easy2GO Kit

 

We decided to do something a little different for the London audience – they’re a notoriously tough crowd! – so we decked out our booth with some huge AutoPot grown plants and illuminated them with the latest LED lights (thanks BudMaster and Planet LED). The display certainly drew plenty of attention and we received fantastic feedback from the growers and retailers that we spoke to throughout the weekend. One of our personal highlights was announcing over the PA system that we were giving all our plants away… we’ve never cleared a booth so quickly! We hope they’re all happy in their new homes.

Calling all retailers!

As you’re (hopefully!) now aware, our easy2GO Kit has been really well received by growers across Europe and the US. To effectively present the product at point-of-sale we’ve put together a colourful counter top display box that holds ten kits. Ask your AutoPot sales representative for details.

For more information on why our easy2GO is the ultimate holiday watering kit, please Click here

Christmas Offer!

Our easy2Go Kit is a great stocking filler and will be on special offer from now until 25th December at the special price of £15.00 with FREE UK mainland delivery! That’s a saving of £4.95! It’s the must have Christmas present for all those hard-to-buy-for green fingered friends and relatives!

By incorporating our patented AQUAvalve, the easy2GO will keep plants watered for weeks using a simple gardening tray and water butt. The easy2GO provides optimum levels of water to meet the plants requirements - without the need for timers or electricity - ensuring that the recipient of your gift returns from their holiday to plants that are thriving. Please note that our last postage date to receive this item in time for Christmas is December 22nd. Order soon to avoid disappointment!

AutoPot grown chillies… now available in Sainsburys!

Next time you tuck into some Sainsburys bought Thai or Jalapeño chillies, you could very well be munching on some AutoPot grown produce!

As you may remember from our previous newsletters, we’ve been working with various commercial nurseries this year; running side by side trials with AutoPot alongside conventional irrigation techniques. Westshore Nurseries in Banks, near Southport have been growing over 200 chilli plants in two large easy2grow systems with peat compost, alongside their plants grown in drip-irrigated rock wool slabs.

The growth and production of the crop appears to be neck and neck, as is the quality of the chillies harvested. The real ‘proof in the pudding’ results will be the savings achieved in the consumption of fertiliser and water, in previous trials commercial growers have recorded savings of over 45% compared to drip-irrigation. Watch this space!

Keep checking our Facebook page for further updates.

AutoPot Open Day at Brill View Farm

There’s nothing we like more at AutoPot than a bit of customer interaction, so we were really looking forward to this year’s open day at the end of August. Luckily, the sun was shining and we enjoyed two great days in the late summer warmth chatting with our retailers and distributors from both the UK and overseas.

As we’ve been growing Thai herbs at the farm this year, we were also joined by members of the local Thai community who’ve been purchasing our AutoPot grown produce through UK Thai Herbs Ltd. This meant we were treated to some excellent, authentic Thai cuisine, alongside some delicious hog roast and a free bar (thanks to Darren and Graham from HydroHub)… it’s no wonder we enjoyed such a great turnout.

The open day provided a great opportunity for our retailers to bring their staff, and a few lucky customers, to see a working commercial nursery in action. As well as participating in various Q+A sessions throughout the day, the attendees also got the opportunity to chat with representatives from the nutrient and media companies who have supported this years’ trials... all while sampling the food and drink on offer and relaxing in the Oxfordshire sunshine!

Trade Only Open Day

Your invitation to Glee Birmingham 2014

If you’re involved in garden retail, we'd like to invite you as our guest to come and see our fantastic new products on stand 19C75 at the NEC Birmingham, 14-16 September.

Innovative products, fresh ideas, exclusive seminars and opportunities all sourced at the UK's largest garden retail trade event, Glee.

Registration is required in order to be permitted complimentary access to the show. Please use the link below and register today to be provided with your personal entry badge.

Come and see us at the 2014 San Francisco Expo

FINALLY... a solution for holiday watering

The easy2GO Kit is the ultimate holiday watering system for happy, healthy plants. By incorporating the AQUAvalve, the easy2GO Kit will keep plants watered and fed for weeks using a simple gardening tray and reservoir. The easy2GO Kit is placed directly in the tray along with your potted plants and distributes water to the plants from below.

The easy2GO Kit can be installed anywhere in the home, greenhouse, conservatory or patio and multiple kits can be linked together to keep larger volumes of plants watered while you're away.

No need to rely on the neighbours this summer!

Why not try an easy2GO Kit to keep your plants healthy and happy while you’re on holiday? It couldn't be simpler; just place the easy2GO into a gardening tray along with your potted plants, connect it to a reservoir and relax!

easy2GO Kit easy2GO Kit

The easy2GO will distribute water from the reservoir evenly across the tray and will shut off the supply once it reaches a level of 20mm. It will not refill the tray until your plants have taken up all of the available water.


easy2GO Kit

easy2GO Kit

Whether you’re away for two days or two weeks you’ll return to plants that are not just surviving, but thriving! You can even add plant food to the reservoir if you wish and multiple kits can be connected to a single reservoir if you have lots of plants.

For more information or to purchase your easy2GO Click Here

Brill View Farm goes potty!

This month the farm has been a hive of activity as we pot up our plants and move them into the poly tunnels. There’s been growing media arriving by the truck load (more on that later) and we continue to propagate herbs by the thousand! We’re growing a variety of crops this season; tomatoes, various chillies and aubergines. However, the main section of the growing area will be herbs, including; Thai basil (sweet and spicy varieties) and Vietnamese coriander. This will be a commercial scale operation and we’ll be selling the produce via Thai Herbs UK.

Brill View Farm

We’ve been propagating and raising young plants on a large scale using our easy2GO Kit. We take a regular garden tray and fill it with around and 4cm of Seramis (granulated clay media), the easy2GO is placed in the corner of the tray and attached to a reservoir filled with nutrient enriched water. Seed trays and small pots filled with compost are placed onto the Seramis. The easy2GO fills the tray to 2cm of water and the Seramis then gently wicks the moisture up into the compost and keeps the seedlings watered. At last count we had around 20 garden trays filled with young plants! As you can see, it works a treat.

Brill View Farm Brill View Farm

Throughout the growing season we’ll be trialling growing media from various manufacturers who have kindly donated their mixes for our head to head trial. Special mentions to; Atami, Canna, FytoCell, LS Systems, Plagron and Plant Magic. Here’s a few snaps of the trial at the planting out stage.

Brill View Farm Brill View Farm

As always, we’ll be posting weekly updates to Facebook, so don’t miss out on the action!

200Pot commercial chilli trial gets off to a flying start

Westshore Nurseries in Banks, near Southport, are a large-scale chilli producer who supply picked chillies and young plants to various UK supermarkets. We visited them in April to install a 200Pot easy2grow system to run alongside their current drip irrigation set up. A few weeks in and the plants are looking great. Nursery owner Joe is pleased with the progress and looking forward to see how the AutoPot grown plants compare to those in his run-to-waste system.

Westshore

We hope to visit Westshore once a month and will post photo updates on our Facebook page. Click Here to visit our page and follow the progress.

Westshore Westshore

We’ll be setting up two further commercial trials over the summer with aubergine and strawberry producers. If you’re interested in using AutoPot systems on a commercial scale then please call the office on 0844 858 1520 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

easy2GO wows the crowds at the Edible Garden Show

At the end of March we packed up the AutoPot roadshow and headed to the capital to exhibit at the Edible Garden Show at Alexandra Palace. The event focuses on self-sufficiency (fans of ‘The Good Life’ would have been in their element!) and showcased products designed to help you grow your own produce and get it from pot to plate. It certainly didn’t disappoint and the turnout was great, including a host of celebrities like; James Wong, Phil Vickery, Raymond Blanc and The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall!

EGS EGS

Mingling amongst the celebs was another star of the show… our very own easy2GO Kit which we officially launched at the event. Visitors loved the simple concept and low maintenance of the kit and the fact that they can finally go away on holiday, safe in the knowledge that their treasured plants will be well looked after. It was so popular that we actually ran out of kits on the first day and had to bring in an emergency batch. We’ll make sure we take plenty more next year!

EGS EGS

600Pot easy2grow system for Italian strawberry farmer

Our Italian distributors – Indoorline – love to keep us updated with feedback from their commercial customers; you may remember the Saffron grower from a couple of months back who recorded a 300% yield increase. Well, following a small trial with an easy2grow system last year, another of their customers has fully converted their glasshouse to AutoPot.

Indoorline  Indoorline

The pictures show the systems at the potting up stage, there are four strawberry plants per pot. It took four people around three and a half hours to complete… hard work, but definitely worth the back ache!

Indoorline Indoorline

We couldn’t resist including a picture of, Indoorline co-owner, Alessandro’s AutoPot-filled balcony. We know where we’re going for our holidays this summer. Bellissimo!

Indoorline

Great progress at Todmorden High School

At the end of April we visited Steve and Danny at Todmorden and were amazed at the size of the plants in their greenhouse! They’re currently growing cucumbers, tomatoes and chillies in their custom-built facility which was funded with National Lottery money. Not only does the greenhouse provide a fantastic ‘hands on’ classroom for their BTEC Horticulture students, it is also a commercial venture as any produce that isn’t used in the school kitchens is sold to local restaurants.

Todmorden Todmorden

Amongst the plants potted in regular compost and coir are some grown in experimental substrates like cut up denim and plant reed. As you can see, they’re doing extremely well. It just goes to show that by providing plants with water and food whenever they require it, you can grow in near enough anything!

Todmorden Todmorden

Follow us on Facebook for further updates. Click Here to visit our page.

We’re moving!

There’s been some exciting developments at AutoPot HQ over the past month, we’ve recently purchased a new warehouse down the road from our existing office and are busy renovating ready for our move at the end of May. Not only does the new premises have a huge storage warehouse and dispatch area – essential to help us cope with the growth we’ve experienced over the last 12 months – it also features a pitched glass roof, effectively providing us with 105 square metres of glasshouse growing space! Perfect for our R&D work.

New Warehouse New Warehouse

We’ll be operating from our new premises in June, so keep your eyes peeled for an email update containing our new address details.

AutoPot prepare New English Garden for Home Grown Expo

At the end of this month we’ll be exhibiting at the Home Grown Expo at the Ricoh arena in Coventry. The show promises to be the first of its kind in the UK, fully dedicated to the concept of growing in an urban environment. Rather than exhibiting on a regular booth we put our heads together with the organisers and have developed a live display area following the concept of the ‘New English Garden’. You can expect trellises, bordered pathways, raised beds and AutoPot grown herbs, salads and fruit trees!

Home Grow Expo

If you’re in the area on the May 31st or June 1st head on down to see us. More information on the show can be found Here.

Oh là là! AutoPot exhibits at France’s first hydroponic event

Technigrow in Lyon was the first ever hydroponic expo to take place in the country and we were on hand to show the French growers that hydroponics doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive.

Technigrow

Exhibiting alongside our colleagues at AutoPot France, we spoke to a range of hobby and commercial growers, lecturers, students and business owners who all shared a common goal; progressing a sustainable method of food cultivation. The water and fertiliser saving properties of our systems raised plenty of interest and we are building relationships with a number of commercial producers and institutions. Watch this space.

The show was a great success and we look forward to attending in 2015.

Chilli fanatic makes great use of AutoPot packaging

We hear about lots of innovative gardening solutions as we travel up and down the UK visiting hydroponic and gardening retailers, but last month one really stuck out. Kevin Smith, a chilli head and customer of Trafford Hydroponics in Manchester, has transformed the box from his 4Pot system into a nursery for his young chilli plants!

Kevin Smith Kevin Smith

Some well thought out snips with the scissors and the addition of some reflective sheeting and propagation lights have created the ideal environment to bring on his plants before they go into his AutoPot system. Good work Kevin!

Kevin Smith Kevin Smith

New distributors

Say hello to the latest members of the AutoPot family…

Binnen Tuinbouw Techniek

BTT will be distributing throughout the Netherlands.

iGrow

iGrow will be distributing throughout Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia.

 

It’s great to have them both on board!