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Ronald de Vreede, Houweling Horticulture:
"The cleaner the greenhouse, the better"
The cleaner the greenhouse, the better the start of a new cultivation. And that is why you want to use the best cleaning product that is available. We spoke with Ronald de Vreede from Houweling Horticulture B.V., supplier of Flusol Forte, Eco Forte and Topcleaner. Ronald: "Flusol Forte is the best cleaning product. If you would rather not use it because of possible vapor effect, you can switch to one of the other cleaning products." Gert-Jan van Hattem, owner of Sproeibedrijf van Hattem, also recommends the use of Flusol Forte. "This is the cheapest, works the best and is also the least damaging to the environment, if you use it in the proper way."
Ronald: "Flusol Forte is a great product to work with. Dutch cultivation just cannot do without chemicals and Flusol Forte is being used widely. You just have to know what you're doing." Gert-Jan also emphasizes the importance of professionalism. "Flusol Forte is a strongly etching agent. This means that it makes the glass softer and rougher. That is why you have to rinse it well before it gets dry. When you are going to do this yourself with a garden hose, then you’re asking for problems. With our pumps we spray 170 liters per minute; that's a lot of water. Ultimately automation overcomes everything." Good rinsing is also extremely important with the other products. Gert-Jan: "It is known from other cleaning agents that residual salts could be damaging to the cultivation."
One of the spraying machines from Sproeibedrijf Van Hattem
Gert-Jan: "With a water solution to which 2% Flusol Forte has been added, you will get the greenhouse spotlessly clean. With Eco Forte, you need a much heavier dose to get the same result. Actually, this is not doable."
Listening to Gert-Jan, you might be wondering why there are still growers that use cleaning products other than Fusol Forte. Gert-Jan: "You hear all kinds of fictitious stories about Flusol Forte, for example that the glass is thinning from it every year. This could mean that greenhouses could collapse after 15 years." Nonsense, he says. "I regularly work in greenhouses where Flusol Forte has already been used for 25 years."
Ronald: "You can only use Flusol Forte if the greenhouse is completely empty. Because the vapor effect can damage the plants that are still in there. Also if your neighbor has a greenhouse full of freesias or other bulbous plants, you should not use Flusol Forte. Bulbous plants are extremely sensitive to vapor effect. Eco Forte and/or Topcleaner are good alternatives."
Topcleaner and Eco Forte are mainly used by growers who fall under the Eco-label. Ronald: "Flusol Forte does not comply with the rules that are imposed by the Eco-label. Eco Forte or Topcleaner do meet those requirements. Whether this is justified, is still the question."
The cleaning products of Houweling. From left: Topcleaner, Flusol Forte and Eco Forte
In order to completely clean the greenhouse, you can still disinfect it with a biocide after cleaning. Ronald: "For a cleaning product, no Ctgb approval (Dutch authorized plant protection and biocidal products) is required, but it is needed for a biocide. We can supply the authorized products."
For more information:
Houweling Horticulture B.V.
Ronald de Vreede
Sproeibedrijf van Hattem
Gert-Jan van Hattem
Publication date: 12/22/2017
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