This is confirmed by Wim Roosen of Dutch Plantin. "We see that there is more interest in the use of coco peat substrates. This year a number of Dutch and Belgian growers have started to use our substrates on a larger scale, after several years of trials."
CucumberOne of these growers is a Dutch cucumber grower who trialed the double layered grow bag of Dutch Plantin since 2015. "This grower was using a perlite substrate in the past and started to mix this with coco. Eventually, due to some changes as a result of sanitation problems he decided to make a switch towards stone wool a couple of years ago. Nonetheless, his interested in a substrate made from organic material remained and two years ago he started to trial our layered bags."
The trials went very well for the Dutch cucumber grower; last year the grower produced a few cucumbers more per square meter in the coco substrate, compared to the crops in stone wool. "This was reason for him to expand the trial to a surface of 1 hectare this winter. He planted the crops on December 30 and currently he sees faster rooting of the crops on the coco bags, because the substrate tends to stay a bit dryer. This will probably result in a slightly earlier production."
Bell pepperAlso a Dutch bell pepper grower has expanded the use of coco substrate this year. This grower has been trialing Dutch Plantin's double layered growbag for a number of years and decided to use the substrate on a larger scale this year. According to the grower, the substrate allows better control of the plant. While coco substrate is usually known to result in a too vegetative growth, the double layered grow bag allows for a more generative, better controllable growth.
According to Roosen, the double layered growbag has really been a game changer. "It is known that a bag with 100% coco pith is too vegetative and a bag with 100% crush or chips allows t0o much air. You can mix the two materials, but our double layered bag consists of a layer of crush with a layer of pith on top of it. This combination allows for a perfect control. The gradual transition between the two layers and the consistent quality of the material is the reason why many growers have experienced great results."
Roosen expects that more growers in Europe will expand the use of coco substrate as a result of the success of the double layered bag. "We see that growers are finally convinced of the possibilities of coir. A 14 ha tomato grower in Belgium is successfully growing on our growbags already for 4 years straight." Other coir bags he tried were either too coarse, too wet, too soft or were resulting in extreme high EC levels. The double layered bags are perfect and supplied in time year on year”, said the grower.
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