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Spring – the month of anticipation, fear of frost, inspiration and a trip to Iceland

I say inspiration, because I have recently returned from a trip to Iceland (the country, not the supermarket, that joke is wearing thin) and amongst the tectonic plates, the geysers, the harshly cold but brilliantly lit landscape, I came across the most enormous greenhouses which supply the island with 39% of its tomatoes. A revelation as Iceland imports almost all of its vegetables and fruit.

Using its natural resources to heat the greenhouses, the Icelanders grow tomatoes, cucumbers and basil. Each tomato plant is grown from a waist-high growbag which is fed automatically with water and feed and controlled by a Control Computer. As each plant grows, it is suspended by string to a secure bar in the roof.

Amazingly for such a cold country, these cherry tomatoes are harvested 365 days of the year due to the greenhouse being heated from a borehole 200m deep where the water enters the system at 95*C. To allow maximum light to enter, the greenhouse glass is only 4mm thick so 200,000 tons of hot water are required each year to maintain the ambient temperature. In addition, Grow Lights are used to ensure the year-round production, supported by Iceland’s abundant ‘green energy’ generated from hydro-electric and geothermal power stations.

A continuing supply of 1,200 bumble bees are imported from Denmark to pollinate the plants; each bee can visit 2000 flowers a day.

Altogether a fantastic trip to Iceland with this particularly tour deliciously completed with lunch of home -made tomato soup and bread.

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