Dirk Röse

Qua­li­ty comes first

Bel­gi­an cus­to­mer tes­ting sub­stra­te with wood fibre

Johan Hin­dryckx (Sales at Klasmann-Deilmann Bel­gi­um) pays regu­lar visits to his cus­to­mers. This time, he wants to ask a com­mer­cial grower about how he has fared with Greenfibre, as both sup­plier and user are only begin­ning to acqui­re expe­ri­ence of this alter­na­ti­ve raw mate­ri­al for gro­wing bed­ding plants. Jan Vano­ver­schel­de (Sales & Mar­ke­ting at Klasmann-Deilmann Bel­gi­um) accom­pa­nied his col­league and gave us his report. 

By Jan Vanoverschelde

Hen­drik and Els greet us in the green­house. Warm­ly. Tog­e­ther, the cou­p­le runs De Roo­se Eti­en­ne and Hen­drik bvba, a who­le­sa­le nur­s­e­ry spe­cia­li­sing in sea­so­nal crops. We are here just after spring, so Hen­drik apo­lo­gi­ses for the green­houses being as good as empty. “In May we real­ly do not have time, but then it loo­ks nicer here. Now the­re is a lot of space...”

If you come back in August, the chry­san­the­m­ums on stems are in bloom and the pyra­mids are loo­king good.” Ever­ything the gar­de­ner tells you in the next hour speaks of his love for the pro­fes­si­on. Care, atten­ti­on and accu­ra­cy. Hen­drik De Roo­se has a clear visi­on and keeps it in his sights. “We dif­fe­ren­tia­te, focus on niche pro­ducts and make a choice, which we try to turn into a strength. We dis­tin­guish our­sel­ves from the rest. We are not big enough to play it the way the mass gro­wers do. So our aim is to stand out in other respects. Form, qua­li­ty, ser­vice and pro­duct ran­ge, the­se are our trump cards. And it’s this that gives us our sea­sons. First hydran­ge­as, gera­ni­ums, fuch­si­as and bego­ni­as, chry­san­the­m­ums in the sum­mer and then the poin­set­tia. And wit­hin the­se spe­cia­li­sa­ti­ons the empha­sis is on deco­ra­ti­ve plants. Not the tra­di­tio­nal pot ‘mums’ for examp­le, but the cas­ca­des and pyramids.”

100% of the sub­stra­te used here is from Klasmann-Deilmann. “We’ve had a lot of posi­ti­ve expe­ri­en­ces with Klasmann-Deilmann. For me the qua­li­ty of the sub­stra­te is para­mount. Of cour­se I some­ti­mes get che­a­per gera­ni­um soil offe­red. I always turn that down, becau­se it’s pro­duct qua­li­ty that counts. And I can tell you: using che­a­per sub­stra­te and then having plants that don’t want to root? Tho­se few pen­nies you saved turn – as fast as light­ning – into loss on all fronts. No, I’m doing well with Klasmann-Deilmann. I use spe­ci­fic com­po­si­ti­ons, in con­sul­ta­ti­on with Johan. We adapt based on typi­cal cha­rac­te­ris­tics pre­sent at my com­pa­ny, that way a rela­ti­ons­hip of trust grows.”

We visit the cus­to­mer at the right moment, becau­se Hen­drik and Johan did some fine-tuning with GreenFibre the past year. “In the pre­vious year, the gera­ni­um pot­ting soil took too much water. That way the plant takes up all the water, starts to shoot and, for me, growth inhi­bi­ti­on was not pos­si­ble. I wan­ted to see a clo­ser dry/wet ratio, so I tes­ted a first order with GreenFibre. I’ve been using it all spring and the plants are kee­ping the mois­tu­re lon­ger. The­re is a bet­ter water dis­tri­bu­ti­on.” Johan adds: “We repla­ced 10% of the white peat with GreenFibre. The rest of the com­po­si­ti­on has remai­ned the same, becau­se it was not inten­ded to make the sub­stra­te much ligh­ter. Hen­drik pro­vi­des water through a sub-irri­ga­ti­on sys­tem ... The­se are all fac­tors that you need to keep an eye on when you crea­te a sub­stra­te. Hen­drik fur­ther exp­lains: “It’s a mat­ter of opti­mi­sing. Asking the right ques­ti­ons and kee­ping on sear­ching until the result is the­re. A good bed­ding plant sub­stra­te which is a good sub-irri­ga­ti­on sub­stra­te at the same time, it’s not always that simp­le. As soon as you add GreenFibre, cer­tain things chan­ge. It is the expe­ri­ence of the grower that makes the dif­fe­rence at that moment.” Johan con­clu­des: “Sear­ching for com­po­si­ti­ons, nego­tia­ting and – as far as I am con­cer­ned – lis­tening well, that’s what it’s all about. That’s how you achie­ve improvement.”