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Kees Hendriks harvests his first cucumbers:

Greater planting distance leads to early cucumbers

"Last Wednesday 12 December, I cut off the first cucumbers," says Dutch cucumber grower Kees Hendriks. "This is two weeks prior to the first harvest last year, when we cut the first cucumbers the day after Christmas. The shortest day is yet to come, but we have enough light to get the crop through that dark period."

This year Kees has been using artificial lighting in both greenhouses. The 6.1 hectare greenhouses are equipped with lighting with an intensity of 190 micromol. "We can turn night into day." But this is the same as before. "The light quantity has remained unchanged compared to previous years. We did opt for a slightly greater planting distance. Instead of 2.5 plants per square meter like last year, we are now at 2.2 plants per square meter. This simply gives the crop more light, about 10% extra per plant."

The plants from which Kees will harvest now were planted on November 22. It is a 30-day planting of the variety Hi Power by Nunhems. The other crop was planted on December 10, and Kees expects to harvest the first cucumbers on January 2 or 3. "On a request from supermarket Hoogvliet we went to see if we could have cucumbers in week 51 and we succeeded. As a result, there is an alternative to Spanish products, especially since you see that there currently are frequent problems with Spanish growers meeting their delivery obligations."

The question is whether Dutch consumers really will choose Dutch cucumbers. "Probably there are a few, but supermarkets mainly opt for reliability. For tomato cultivation we already did it. With cucumbers we aren't that far yet, but certain chains are interested." His cucumbers are also available via The Greenery.

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Kees Hendriks 

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