Gert-Jan Lekkerkerker, Grow Group:

"Resistant cultivation begins at the propagator"

Plant resilience in the greenhouse sector is an increasingly important issue, one that plant breeders are progressively dealing with. Gert-Jan Lekkerkerker from propagator Grow Group, explains how they use this strategy in the nursery.

For growers, December is all about crop rotation, and for plant breeders, the pressure is on to deliver perfect youngplants to each customer. One of the companies dealing with this is the plant nursery called Grow Group. Alongside its usual activities, it is active in the organic propagation of plants.

About 40% of the plants leaving the premises is organic, Lekkerkerker estimates. This is also because the Grow Group is one of the few plant nurseries allowed to supply to Switzerland. The Swiss BioSuisse rules are even stricter than the Dutch organic regulations.

In both organic and conventional propagation, plant resistance is an increasingly important issue. "Grafting is a common way to make the plant stronger without using chemicals, but people are progressively searching for more ways," says Lekkerkerker. He also works with the Fytopro line of Biopol Natural introduced this year. "By making the plant more resistant (stronger), we also attempt to make it feel more comfortable, and less prone to harmful fungi. This is achieved partly by bringing bacteria and enzymes into the roots. It improves the absorption of the plant."

Limitations for most conventional growers is not so much knowledge, but rather the costs. "In a conventional pepper cultivation we have worked entirely organic this year, and that simply means even more risks for the grower," says Lekkerkerker. "Also, organic doesn’t always translate in financial benefits on the market place, which makes it even more tricky.”

Demand for complete package

From countries like Switzerland, Germany and Denmark, the demand for organic produce is growing. To speak of a widely popular crop is hard, because organic growers tend to rotate crops. "I think the most popular product is thetomato, followed by peppers and cucumbers. But you also see specialities emerging in the organic market. The market demand for the complete package is definitely on the rise."

More information:
BioPol Natural
Nijverheidsweg 11
3251 LP Stellendam
Tel. +31(0)187-493422

Please contact your account manager or the Grow Group on Tel: +1 088 01 20 502 to learn more about the trial results.

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