Thanks to endless journeys of discovery, Van Lipzig Tuinderijen always strives to improve their cultivation process. The company is a family business specialized in growing high-quality cucumbers for three generations. Moreover, the company provides customization in their products, packaging and delivery. There is always a place, where their growth factors can be improved according to the Growing by Plant Empowerment principles. By maintaining the plant balances, this data-driven and innovative organisation learned how to grow strong and resilient cucumber crops. Cultivation Manager, Peter van Ninhuys takes us on their journey.
Plant Empowerment, a fresh perspective
With years of experience in rose cultivation, Peter van Ninhuys started working as a cultivation manager for Van Lipzig Tuinderijen in 2017. “At that time Van Lipzig Tuinderijen was looking for a Cultivation Manager with a fresh perspective in order to implement the Growing by plant Empowerment principles”, Peter indicates. Within a tree year timeframe, Peter learned how to grow a stronger and more resilient cucumber crop with a healthier root zone. The organisation used a step-by-step approach, continuously looking for the limiting factor of their cultivation process. Herewith, the organisation avoided diseases and optimised the photosynthesis of the crops.
Eye-openers for an optimal light use efficiency
Peter: “One eye-opener of the Plant Empowerment principles, is the importance of the light-use-efficiency.” Therefore, the organisation applied a diffuse coating to their greenhouse facility. Thereafter, the company adjusted their screening strategy on the basis of the radiation, in order to maintain the energy-balance of the crops. Insights were provided by use of the Net Radiation Sensor of Hoogendoorn Growth Management. Ensuring that the head of the plant is always the appropriate temperature, in a way that the calcium transport streams upwards. For this reason, the firmness of crops is partly determined by an efficient calcium supply. Peter concludes: “As a grower you have to make use of natural growth light in a smart and efficient manner. It is important to close and open your screen on exactly the right time."
Peter continues: “This year we started applying another Plant Empowerment principle in practice. We adjusted our ventilation strategy by venting trough the leeward side and wind side of the greenhouse at exact the same time. Resulting in a more equal growth climate, a better humidity level and a reduction of inside temperature”. The company attaches high importance to real-time insights of the growth factors of the crop, in order to optimize and standardise all these different growth factors. Peter emphasizes: "Climate management is the core of my daily routine, analysing and improving all growth factors by use of the Hoogendoorn process computer and the LetsGrow.com platform."
Empowering cucumbers by digitization
Peter carries on: “By cultivating cucumbers we come across many challenges on daily basis. We keep an eye on the growth climate 24/7. Thanks to the digitisation of the cultivation processes we are enabled to empower our crops.” The real-time insights, provided via the Climate Monitor of LetsGrow.com enables fact-based decision making. Peter: “If I am not satisfied with the appearance of a crop at one point of time, I always analyse the facts and figures. This provides me with plant physiological insights in order to take next steps. On top of that, the set-points of the Hoogendoorn process computer are completely aligned with the Plant Empowerment principles. As a grower you are provided with all the tools you need, in order to optimize your cultivation processes.”
Peter concludes: “Van Lipzig Tuinderijen took Growing by Plant Empowerment path. In order to implement these principles, we recommend to do this step-by-step. Make a roadmap and start with step one. We are convinced that this path offers you endless possibilities to learn more about plant physics. This makes the field of cultivation super interesting.”