Sustainable chrysanthemum cultivation at Dümmen Orange
Cut flower cultivation in the soil presents a number of challenges. Plant health, water and environmental aspects, energy consumption and optimising cultivation are just a few examples. Sustainability is possible by using new innovations. Van der Knaap recently visited Dümmen Orange’s show greenhouse in De Kwakel. An ErfGoedFloor with an ebb and flow system has recently been installed there. An aerated coco substrate from Van der Knaap Group was selected.
Dümmen Orange is an international breeder and propagator focused on pot plants, bedding plants, perennial plants, tropical plants, cut flowers and bulbs. “Sustainability is a high priority for us", explains Roy van Kester. “The ErfGoedFloor enables us to grow emission free. It is a closed system: water and fertilisers are captured and can then be reused. This growing system suits our aim to make growing cut chrysanthemums sustainable." At the moment, cultivation occurs mainly outdoors. By adding this innovation to their show greenhouse, Dümmen Orange wants - together with its partners - to show the sector that there are good, applicable innovations available for substrate grown cut flowers.
For the substrate, Dümmen Orange came to Van der Knaap for advice. As an expert in substrate manufacturing, we can offer an outstanding range of different custom solutions. Our advisors possess practical knowledge of diverse crops, which means they can give advice about optimal growing conditions.
The choice for coco substrate was an obvious one. “We have good experience with coco substrate. For chrysanthemum cultivation we were looking for the ideal air and water balance. An aerated growing medium where the chrysanthemum can establish and take root’', says Roy van Kester.
When selecting the most suitable substrate, the first things to consider are the growing system and the wishes of the client. “In this instance, the process starts with overhead irrigation before changing to irrigation from below the crop. It is important that the substrate can cope with both situations”, explains Edwin van Geest, crop advisor for Substrates at Van der Knaap. The selected substrate rapidly absorbs water, distributes water laterally and has a good water retention capacity.
The first crop production cycle was successful. The plants are more robust and compact. This could be a result of irrigation distributed from below the crop. This way, water can be provided continuously, even when the flowers are almost ready for harvesting. The plants remain dry, which is an advantage in cut flower cultivation.
Combined with a high quality coco substrate, the ErfGoedFloor offers an outstanding basis for emission free chrysanthemum cultivation. Thanks to the ebb and flow system's periodic flooding and draining action, the substrate doesn't dry out. This means water absorption remains constant throughout cultivation. The growing process is therefore easy to control, especially when it comes to adding nutrients and irrigation. However, as with every new growing system, it takes time to find the most suitable irrigation strategy. In contrast to growing outdoors, the ebb and flow system has a different rhythm. Roy van Kester: “To date, this growing system has been a success, but it will be interesting to see how it will develop during the following cycles." More data will be collected concerning crop and substrate quality, leading to further optimisation. Naturally, Van der Knaap can offer support through advice and analysis.
Looking for an innovative substrate solution for your crop? Please contact Edwin van Geest via +31 174 296606 or email@example.com.