Langmead new glasshouse 2

Langmead Group's new potted herb glasshouse facility

Herb supplier Langmead Group has opened its new £3 million herb glasshouse in what is described as the UK’s fully-automated herb production site.

The automatic potting, sowing and growing system can run 24-hours-a-day and requires minimum human input. Based on 1.2 hectares in West Sussex, the site grows potted basil, parsley, mint, thyme and chives for retailers, as well as an organic range for Abel & Cole, and can provide year-round supply at a rate of five million pots a year.

The company said it had “identified a market opportunity” for potted herbs after establishing its reputation with herb packing at its headquarters in Bosham, West Sussex, and the acquisition of Scottish herb brand Scotherbs.

“This is a very exciting development for us. We have embraced the innovation, technology and investment required to create cutting-edge environmental and stock management for our customers,” said Langmeads CEO Ian Summerfield.

The new site is heated by a biomass fuel system, and uses water sourced from Langmead’s reservoir that is recycled through UV filtration, rather than tap water.

Its 550m2 germination room allows optimal growth and crop uniformity, and growing benches are sown and moved robotically. In addition, organic herbs can be grown in significant volumes in the same footprint as regular herbs using a peat free substrate that reduces its carbon emissions.

The company is also conducting a major trial at the site, in partnership with the University of Nottingham, on lighting technology to provide the conditions for optimal growth and disease prevention, as well as variety and seed trials.