German cucumber nursery Busigel: ultramodern and traditional

The cucumber nursery Reinhard Busigel is in many ways a traditional German family business. The production is marketed locally under a regional brand and the company has only decided to expand after the costs of the old greenhouse have almost been covered and the market is ready for more produce. André Busigel tells us more about growing under diffused glass and the choice of two screens.

André Busigel in the greenhouse. During the visit, the crop rotation was in full swing.

The company's two greenhouses. Left, the new one. Right, the old company.

The instructional tour in southern Germany last week also included a visit to André Busigel's nursery in Albertshofen. The first greenhouses of the family company Reinhard Busigel were constructed in 1977, with 2,500 m2 facilities. In a few years, it increased to 6,500 m2. That was combined with 20 hectares of open fields, 12 of which leased). After several visits to the Netherlands, in 1998 Busigel decided to focus entirely on growing cucumbers under glass. A new 1 hectare greenhouse was built, and in 2006 the company started making use of waste heat from a nearby biogas plant. Such a combination is necessary, states Busigel. Gas prices in Germany are about 30% higher than in the Netherlands, and even after covering 60% of the heating needs with waste heat, the gas costs are still sky high.

A more colourful picture! The Busigel family in summer

Saving for new construction
Last year the company expanded with an additional hectare. Constructions of this magnitude are characteristic of German horticulture and of the region. In recent years, even bigger projects have been carried out, but traditionally the costs of the first greenhouse must first be almost paid off and then savings are accumulated for new constructions. German banks also require a personal investment of about 30% or the pledge of properties as security. "Furthermore, we know for sure that we'll sell the production," says Busigel. "In recent years, demand has been growing." This year it was not so, but it also had to do with the poor cucumber season. "The end was good, but otherwise it was a terrible year."

The choices that Busigel makes in his company are definitely not traditional. The newest part of the greenhouse is equipped with diffused glass, and this autumn a second screen has been installed. In the past, Busigel worked with AC film as an energy screen to eliminate moisture and heat more easily. "However, the moisture was a problem. Especially when you opened the film, too much water dripped on the plants. And the installation and removal took too much time," explains the grower. Because that is also different than in the Netherlands: having to pay the travel expenses of contractors makes it quite expensive.

Difference in greenhouse height

Knauf/Kleeschulte Growbags

Ready for the planting

Strong root penetration
At the moment, the new greenhouse is ready for the new season, and that entails that even the tubes are getting a lick of paint. Three plantings will be carried out in the new greenhouse, and in the older part there will be two. Busigel also cultivates mini cucumbers and this year it chose to make use of Kleeschulte Growbags. His goal was to obtain a resilient crop and noticed that growbags ensure for strong root penetration. "The mats lie on a polystyrene surface underground because we had problems with fusarium. This material not only provides a buffer against the cold from the ground, but also ensures that excess moisture can be removed from the mat."

Busigel's products are marketed through Gartenbauzentrale-Main-Donau and are marketed as local products. This is important, because German consumers are willing to pay more for that, which is needed to grow profitably despite the higher cost. Busigel, in turn, explains consumers the entire process behind the products. He is active on social media, he appeared two years ago in numerous media with heart shaped cucumbers, and explains everything to school students and anyone interested during guided visits to the greenhouse, from rainwater harvesting to the use of biological crop protection.
Gartenbauzentrale Main-Donau will be present at Fruit Logistica. Hall 20, stand A05.

For more information:
André Busigel
Reinhard Busigel GbR
Am Rothberg 2
97320 Albertshofen
The Netherlands
For sales information:
Gartenbauzentrale Main-Donau


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