Aldo van Os, organic pepper grower:

"Rootstocks: the most common thing in organic pepper cultivation"

On 2.5 ha, Aldo van Os cultivates three pepper varieties from Enza Zaden, supplied by Vitalis (organic branch of Enza Zaden, red.): the red variety Artega, the yellow variety Gialte and the orange variety Orbit. "You might say that I am a fan of Enza Zaden / Vitalis varieties," according to Aldo. "They are productive, generative, vigorous and the fruits are of good quality."

Rootstocks: the most normal common in organic pepper cultivation
As an organic grower, the most normal thing in the world for Aldo is to grow his pepper varieties on rootstocks. "In organic cultivation you have to deal with soil diseases and nematodes. A strong, powerful rootstock can prevent many problems. I think that currently 90% of organic growers use rootstocks." The varieties at Aldo are grafted on Scarface rootstock.

Rootstock Scarface
Because Aldo only works with grafted plants, it is of great importance to him that he has the right combination of rootstocks and upper stems. "In order to get the best results from a variety, the right combination is crucial. Scarface in this respect is a good match. This rootstock is very productive and powerful and has the necessary resistance. And thanks to its vigor it is very resistant to soil diseases."

Advisor for other growers
In addition to running his own company in IJsselmuiden, Aldo also advises two other companies, called Wayen BV and Wayen 2 BV, located in Houten and Harmelen. "Also there are only Enza Zaden and Vitalis varieties." Because he likes to promote organic cultivation, Aldo also provides other companies with cultivation advice and helps growers who cultivate in the traditional way with the transition to organic cultivation. "That is not something that you can just do, to make the transition. That involves lots of things. Organic cultivation needs to suit you. You are very dependent on nature, there is less control, you have to be able to handle that." Together with his business partner and agricultural engineer Mark Velders, Aldo is also preparing for the opening of an educational center regarding sustainable horticulture: 100% organic, 0% chemistry.

Collaboration is essential
Aldo knows very well that collaboration is essential for achieving good results. He highly appreciates the collaboration with Edwin Bornkamp (Sales Specialist at Enza Zaden, ed.). "New developments and new varieties you often see first in conventional cultivation. Because Edwin also advises these growers, he can keep me well informed about what is coming. And which varieties I can test for example in a path or in a larger trial. For me this is necessary to move forward." But also the cooperation with his sales party Zann, his staff, business partners and wife are crucial elements in Aldo's success in the company. "You cannot succeed alone."

From conventional to organic
Aldo has been an organic grower for almost twenty years now. But at one time he started in conventional cultivation. "Because I could no longer tolerate working with chemical pesticides, I decided to specialize completely on organic cultivation."

For Aldo, the biggest difference between conventional and organic cultivation is scouting. "The scouting of diseases and pests is really the most important thing if you are an organic grower. The sooner you recognize a disease or pest, the better. The costs of combating a disease or pest in organic cultivation are three or four times as high as in conventional cultivation. Because if you have one problem, you often have more."

Preventive combat
And which control strategy to use, is rather a complex question. "What are you going to use? And how much? In conventional cultivation, you can always fall back on pesticides, but that is not possible here. So preventive combat is best. That’s why we pay so much attention to scouting."

Favorite pepper variety
All three varieties of Enza Zaden have a high score at Aldo, but one variety clearly stands out. "I have chosen Artega because of its quality and thick-walled peppers. This variety has an easy resetting, which makes it produce fruit more evenly. It just grows very easily. Yes, you might say that Artega is my favorite variety."

For more information: 
Enza Zaden Nederland
+31 (0)228 350 100

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