- 06 August 2012
More and more is becoming known about cultivation without substratum. Based on research programs and placings at both testing stations and in practice more and more information is becoming available about the progressive manner of cultivation. Also at Demokwekerij Westland the FutaGrow project is starting to produce more fruit, both literally and figuratively. In the meantime the project enters its third cultivation year. Time for Peet van Adrichem and Jos Kouwenhoven to prepare an interim balance sheet. At the Demokwekerij Westland a new cultivation cycle started in week 27. "As you can see there is already a good first branch on the plants" Peet says, when he shows the plants in the top gully. In the trial placing are two different cultivations. A young and a fully grown cultivation. The gullies of the different cultivations are adjustable in height, the plants sink as they grow. There are 15 paths in which hang 30 gullies of 22 metres in length. There are about 4 plants to every m2 and there are five and a half cultivations per annum.
"The cultivation cycle is short, we only harvest 8 bunches per plant" Peet explains. "After that we start again with new plants. In those eight weeks the plant is at its best: it puts all its strength into the tomato, we only harvest a quality product and we do not exhaust the plant. In length the plant will be maximum 2,60 metre."
Van Adrichem is very happy about the cultivation system, in which the plant grows on water instead of on substratum, such as rockwool or coconut fibre. "The plant takes what it needs by itself and that works well. Of course we have a lot of experience at the moment and the necessary adjustments have been made. We also experiment with other segments now. We started with cocktail tomatoes, but have also started with middle-sized tomatoes in the meantime."
"That also goes well" tomato grower Jos Kouwenhoven adds. "We wanted to show that it is possible with a different segment. We now have the results. We are working towards an increase in production of 20%. Before we reach that some fine-tuning is still required. We have a closed water cycle and there is no buffer, which we previously had with the rockwool. If we can sort out this kind of problem and can develop this further labour technically, then it is quite possible to have this ready for practical use within a few years."
Van Adrichem emphasizes that not only the higher production is required from the project. "Futagrow supplies a totally different product. The grower with this kind of system is in a position to supply a product of high quality all year round. In addition it is durable; no waste like with rockwool and the energy-efficiency increases, more production with the same energy-input."
On 4 Septmber next LTO Groeiservice together with the program Samenwerken aan Vaardigheden (Cooperating on Skills) organise a walk-in afternoon at the projects FutaGrow (tomaat-Demokwekerij Westland) and the project Substraatloos cultivation in practice (peppers - fa.C. & R. Vijverberg). Furthermore there is an
Arena-session with presentations and discussion about cultivation without substratum. For more information walk-in afternoon please contact Herma Enthoven.