Christer Lillandt has grown tomatoes in a greenhouse all his life, first as his father's assistant and then in his own business. Now he grows broad beans alongside the tomatoes.
Growing greenhouse vegetables is almost in the genes of gardener Christer Lillandt, as his paternal grandmother started growing greenhouse vegetables in the 1950s. The greenhouse, built in 1966, where he now grows beans, is also part of the family tradition.
"I like to try new things. I've almost always had new varieties of tomatoes and even new varieties to try. Some of them have ended up in commercial cultivation, like the snack cucumber. The variety at the time was difficult to grow, but the product may be back on the market in the future."
Christer and Heléne Lillandt's greenhouse is now in its third year of growing beans, which have been well received by the market. "The challenge so far has been finding the right beans. In the first year, several different types of beans were tried out, of which the most suitable was the bean 'Matilda.' Now, the aim is to keep the yield to 5-6 kilos per square meter in order to make the crop profitable. This year I will also extend the growing season."
As a farmer at Närpiön Vihannes, Lillandt gets all the support he needs to grow a new crop from the cooperative's crop manager, Mikael Dahlqvist.
But the biggest help for practical bean growing has come from his own farm. Hang Bui, an employee from Vietnam, is responsible for the bean cultivation. He has instructed on how to support the beans across the aisle, unlike the way greenhouse vegetables are usually grown. "Hang Bui has hands-on experience of growing beans in Vietnam, so with his help, we quickly caught up with the crop production. Beans from 12 rows are picked with scissors three rows at a time. There are four harvesting days a week," says Lillandt.