The main activity of Gitzels Plant Nursery is the cultivation of Brassica seedlings - but that's just the beginning of the story. In the different departments of the high-tech nursery various activities take place, including the breeding of warm fruit vegetable plants, quality research for breeders and research in growing without daylight
For the past year and a half, the team with Gitzels Plant Nursery has also been working on a company film. The film, or actually documentary, was placed online last week. “A lot of companies these days have company movies showing what it is they do, but we chose to show who we are instead”, Mike Gitzels explains.
The company from Wevershoof in North Holland is 9.5 hectares in size and is located in the greenhouse horticulture area known as Het Grootslag. Currently, they are in the midst of the breeding season for Brassica, which lasts from March till August. They sell around 120 million Brassica seedlings each year. “We supply about 75 percent of the open fields in the Netherlands with Brassica seedlings. Which means that around one-third of all growers in the Netherlands grow Brassica that has been bred by us.”
The need to innovate
This is possible thanks to state of the art greenhouse horticultural techniques, as can be noted when the many different departments within the company are explained. A number of different activities take place, among which the propagation of warm fruit vegetable plants, quality research for breeders and research in growing without daylight using a LED lighted room from Green Simplicity.
“Although people might not directly think about innovation when they think about the cold breeding of cabbage plants, we still feel the need to be innovating constantly”, Mike explains. “That is the reason why Matthijs Woestenburg has been hired three years ago to spend over half of his time on researching and innovating, with which I help him.”
Matthijs Woestenburg and owner William Gitzels
Next generation growing
Although the innovations concerning the breeding of Brassica has been underexposed in the past, Gitzels is now closely following the technological developments. “Think about Next Generation Growing and then with more attention to the creation of an optimal climate, and also controlling it at the plant level with sensors or on the substrate, which our focus shifted to since we started breeding organic cold cultivation and the cultivation of celeriac back in 2018. We have gotten Skal-certified for this last year, the Dutch standard for organic cultivation. Insights in the organic cultivation have provided us with more attention to soil life.”
Mike in the LED room
Hypermodern new greenhouse
At the moment, the ten hectares of Plant Nursery Gitzels are filled with all sorts of activities year round so the option of expansion was taken into consideration. That possibility presents itself in 2020 because the company of gerbera grower and neighbor Monkey Flowers has been bought.
“Till June 2020, gerberas will be grown, after which we will get the keys to the company. We will then demolish the current greenhouses and build two hectares of ultra-modern greenhouses in their place that will be used for both the breeding of Brassica and the cultivation of warm plants for breeders. Since the demands for greenhouses are quite high these days, we will also start looking into cultivating warm vegetable plants for commercial purposes in the near future.”