Coir is a popular growing media, and not only amongst greenhouse growers that deal with tomatoes, peppers or cucumbers. No, in fact, soft fruit growers in Spain are more and more luring toward hydroponic cultivation on coir. According to Wim Roosen from Dutch Plantin, this is due to more restrictions made by the government in regards to soil decontamination and soil disinfection. "Spanish growers that used to grow strawberries in the soil, no longer have all the instruments available to clean there soil after a crop cycle. This is one of the reasons that more growers are interested in growing their fruit on a substrate like coir."

Hydroponic strawberry cultivation on cocopeat in Spain. Spanish and Portuguese growers plant their crops in October. This year the first fruit is a little later then usual, the first harvest is estimated soon. Last week the temperature was around 17 degrees. Perfect weather for the crop.

Currently most of the 7000 hectares acreage of strawberries cultivated in Spain and Portugal is still grown in earth. "The acreage with strawberries is not expanding, there's only a noticeable expansion in the acreage with raspberries," said Roosen. "This crop is grown as standard on 650 grams of coco disk, that are made with the right amount of cocopeat and fibre. We've sold this product for many years in the UK, Germany and Italy, and for the last few years Spanish and Portuguese growers are also using them."

Dutch Plantin has also developed a black slab. According to Wim Roosen the temperature of the slab is higher and the first harvest is estimated one week sooner then a regular white slab. - Spanish growers reuse the slabs for a period of 4 to 5 years.

For a few years now we are also selling more growing bags to soft fruit growers in Spain and Portugal," said Roosen. "As a direct result of the tighter regulations for soil decontamination, Spanish growers want to grow hydroponically. We have developed special mixes (the right balance between coco pith and chips) for strawberry growers in the Mediterranean climate, and we also support growers who want to make the switch. By visiting them once in a while and sharing our expertise about growing in coir, we make sure that they will achieve the best results. Growers that are interested in gaining more information can always contact us."

Raspberry cultivation in Portugal with 650 grams brickets in polystyrene troughs

Roosen further added; "Our local partners get the best support from us, in different ways possible. We coach and train them how to work with coco products technically and commercially. After their training they are able to support the growers to get maximum yields. It is important that growers are advised in making the right choice in sizes, qualities and specifications. That is what we call our “pre sales” support. After sales we help growers to succeed by advising them about the right preparations of the coco. Sometimes we join a show together or we support growers locally by visiting them along with our partners. We also provide technical presentations about our coco products and new developments in growing techniques when there is a potential market and enough local interest."

For more information:
Wim Roosen
Dutch Plantin Coir India Pvt Ltd
Tel: +31 610 569 218