Skadi Menne

GreenFibre as a recipe for success

Successful strawberry cultivation in the Netherlands

Strawberries are grown outdoors, in foil tunnels or in greenhouses. We are aware of this diversity and offer our customers the right substrate in each of these areas. To achieve successful cultivation results, we rely on a combination of selected raw materials. Alternative constituents are becoming increasingly popular because they contribute to good cultivation results. We have developed a substrate based on wood fibre especially for growing strawberries. Lemmen Strawberries, a customer of our sales company Klasmann-Deilmann Benelux, previously used this recipe for outdoor cultivation and then also switched to greenhouse cultivation.

Frank Lenkens, soft fruit specialist, has been working with our customer Lemmen in Egchel (the Netherlands) for years and knows the challenges: “In the past, the Lemmen teams had to deal with root problems, among other things, which affected the crop result. Also the firmness of the strawberries was not as desired. This was because the substrate with a coir component did not harmonise with the groundwater.”

Together, a new solution was found: A growing medium with a high proportion of GreenFibre.

Confirmed effectiveness

Even though there is already a variety of alternative raw materials, many nurseries still rely on peat-based substrates. The growers simply know how the plants react in the substrates and how to control the crop efficiently.

At the research institute “Proefecentrum Hoogstraten”, Klasmann-Deilmann Benelux carried out strawberry trials with a GreenFibre proportion. The manager of Lemmens Strawberries became aware of this and was convinced by the new substrate recipe.

Initially, Lemmen used the substrate for growing strawberry crops outdoors. After achieving very positive results here, the nursery also used the substrate for greenhouse cultivation. Frank now could see the results for himself: “The plants are developing well, no diseases can be seen and there are no root problems. Rather, the roots are spreading throughout the substrate – a very good result.”

Years of experience

Wood fibres have been part of our repertoire of substrate components for about 25 years, and we have been producing GreenFibre on many own plants for more than ten years. The wealth of experience of our experts is now unique. Due to the shift towards more and more alternative constituents in the substrate, wood fibres will continue to grow in importance in the long term.

To ensure that GreenFibre can be used in several cultivation segments, we produce three different sizes: Coarse, medium and fine. The fine version is often used in press pots. The medium coarse fibre is used in the cultivation of soft fruits.

Optimal composition

The basic mixture for strawberries still contains approx. 50% peat. We already carry out trials with a lower proportion, but the properties still make peat irreplaceable at this point.

Nevertheless, it is our goal to reduce the peat content more and more. “We then offer our TerrAktiv Plus compost product, for example,” explains Frank. “In some crops, this is just the thing to activate soil life – but it’s not necessary for all.”

GreenFibre is a very structurally stable product, which is a great advantage for nurseries. The substrates with GreenFibre also have a more homogeneous moisture balance with little fluctuation compared to, for example, coco. This is good for irrigation management. Another big advantage in strawberry production is that the product does not contain silicium. Because if the value were exceeded, white spots would appear on the strawberries – this can be prevented with the GreenFibre substrate.

Log & Solve

Log & Solve gives Lemmen Strawberries additional security. The online platform shows how important parameters in the substrate are developing and the Lemmen team can react accordingly. It is also possible to enter and log your own observations and access them at any time. If problems arise, we can then provide tips without a physical customer visit. A great advantage for both sides.