“Smaller pepper plants than previous years and a shift in the selection of tomato available.”

Pubication Hortidaily 24/09/2019

It’s mid-September, the season for propagating young plants isright around the corner. Johan Grootscholten, Globe Plant: “We have a very loyal clientele, but what the customers are looking for in their plants can differ each year. What is most notable now is the fact that most of the pepper plants that get ordered are a bit smaller than in previous years. This is especially true for early deliveries,  made before December first. There are, of course, exceptions. Other than that, we notice a shift in the selection of tomato available.”

Johan: ”The customers’ plant needs are the most important thing to us. Whether it regards Dutch, German, Swiss, Polish or Belgian growers, custom-made results apply for all. Together with the customer, we take a look at what they really want.

Globe Plant has all techniques available to meet your plant needs. They have been, and still are, investing in high-tech cultivation of plants. This includes improving on the selection machine, providing the watering unit with more control options and extra lighting. They also have specialized knowledge and experience in grafting pepper plants, as well as the basic grafting of tomatoes and eggplants.”

Plant cultivation is still something that requires a lot of trust, says Johan. That is why hygiene is essential in the business. “We work in complete accordance with the GSPP-protocol, including a mandatory changing protocol for employees and visitors, but we see that as something one would naturally do anyway.

A protocol such as the GSPP seems to become too theoretical. Furthermore, the protocol only focuses on Clavibacter (Cmm) in tomatoes. I would like to see the GSPP-protocol expanded to other cultivations and diseases, so it becomes a more accurate representation of reality. There is, after all, much more to hygiene.”

The entirety of Globe Plant is meshed off, which make it extra hard for Tuta absoluta and whitefly to enter. ToBRF-virus is another reason for concern. “Luckily we don’t have any customers who have trouble with it. Nevertheless, we take preemptive measures. Our aim is a 100% clean plant, but the customer can choose which products we can and cannot use on the plant. When a customer wants us to work completely organically, then we can if discussed beforehand. After all, it should not have negative effects on the other plants in the greenhouse. It goes without saying that we sanitize the entire company at the end of the cultivating season so we can start the next season spotlessly clean.”

Geothermal heat
The five hectares of greenhouse in the Dutch Vierpolders run for 80% on geothermal heat. Globe Plant was the first plant nursery that switched to geothermal heat three years ago. “The Geothermal heat Vierpolders project is a project we share with eight other growers, especially vegetable growers. Together we can use the energy we get from underground and divide it evenly amongst ourselves. However, the peaks in heat demand for each cultivation should not be at the same time. Our biggest production is during a period in which the vegetable growers don’t need as much heat. This way we kind of complement each other.”

As for the remaining 20% of energy that is needed, they are currently looking for alternative sustainable solutions with as their goal: to become completely independent of gas. “The switch to geothermal heat was based on our ideology, but we of course also have to make decisions financially. Whatever the future may bring, whether there is gas or not… gas will be getting more expensive. That is what we think.”