Frenchcooperatives Saveol and SolaRenne focus fully on tomato production. They set highstandards for their tomato plants, and for that reason they chose to be supplied by Dutchpropagator Plantenkwekerij Van der Lugt. "Slowly, more and more Frenchgrowers opt for 1 on 1 grafted plants. Plants are more vigorous that way",says Huub Hermus, sales manager at the propagator.
Tomatoes for illuminated cultivation, eggplants, peppers, unlit tomatoes, earlycucumbers, the last few tomatoes for the Polish market and againcucumbers. Of the right maturity, grown with the right crop protection, in the correctpot and of course the desired variety. It's a complex schedule for Dutchpropagator Plantenkwekerij Van der Lugt. Since the end of August, the companyhas been delivering greenhouse vegetable plants full time.
For the tomato growers who don't use artificial light, plants are delivered starting November 1. Van der Lugt not onlysupplies Dutch growers, but also transports many plants to France, including to tomato cooperativesSaveol and SolaRenne in Brittany.
"Plant models for the French market hardly differ from other markets: growers ask for grafted and toppedplants. We do notice however that more and more French growers opt for plantsthat are grafted 1 on 1. It makes the plants more vigorous and growers inBrittany can definitely reap the benefits from that. Brest is situated on the Western hemisphere,and sunlight can be quite intense there already in the 3rd week of the year." And there's another difference between the French and the Dutch market. "In the Netherlands, growers choose one variety. Abroad, growers with 8 or 9 hectares divide their acreage across 4 different varieties."
Another important aspect in France is the demand for plants grown withbiological crop protection. At Van der Lugt, they started propagating tomatoes and cukes using only biological crop protection this season. "We try to reduce the use of chemicals. We focus on preventative control and the use of products saving the biologicals. This was mainly asked for by the French growers. Now we also grow our cucumbers this way."
Next week, Huub will see how this year's plants are doing in La belle France. "You want to know how they are doing, see if everything worked out fine and find out whether the growth is as expected. That's why we always try to visit growers within a fortnight after planting."
It's not the end of the tomato season at Van der Lugt. "We'll start sending out tomato plants to Polish growers next week and this will continue until the second week of January. In Poland, growers tend to order bigger, older plants. The pink tomatoes are very popular there and they don't do well on an early start." Colleague Arnoud Roozen will travel to Poland afterwards to visit the growers there.
In the meantime, the cucumber season is starting. The first ones are out already and quite a few are growing now to be delivered in the next couple of weeks. "The cucumber season is nearly the same as last year. We have had quite a few deliveries in the first two weeks of December. The next wave is coming up between Christmas end New Year's Eve, and the last ones are to be delivered in the last days of January."
So in February everything's quiet again? Not exactly. The Snacker Funfoods season starts right away. "And before you know it, the first seedlings of the second cucumbers are there. We'll see - let's enjoy the current season and plants first."