The end of the crop rotation is approaching for the first part of the Dutch greenhouse growers. A moment to look forward to every year. “We haven’t seen any greenery in the greenhouse for two months now. The placement of the new plants is a really good time for me,” says grower Albert Cosdy from the cucumber nursery.
Cucumber nursery “North-East” is one of the first nurseries to plant new crops in the greenhouse this year. “We do it in two steps,” explains Cosdy. The first part is planted on Tuesday, January 3, and the second part of cucumber plants is sent to the greenhouse on Tuesday, January 10. The plants are grown in the Rob van Vegchel nursery in the Limburg region. “The quality is good. So far I’m happy,” Cosdy says.
A cucumber grower describes this period of the year as a “wonderful moment”. ‘We haven’t seen any greenery in the greenhouse for months. We cleaned from the back door to the mailbox. Now everything is fresh, green and clean. I really like it.’
The Noord-Oost Cucumber Nursery’s greenhouse houses a total of 41,000 cucumber plants. The first part was planted on Tuesday, January 3rd, the rest will be planted on Tuesday, January 10th.
The Noord-Oost Cucumber Nursery’s greenhouse houses a total of 41,000 cucumber plants. The first part was planted on Tuesday, January 3rd, the rest will be planted on Tuesday, January 10th. Copyright video. All rights reserved.
Cosdy gets help planting his neighbor, his own workers, and his wife, Yolanda. After all, the greenhouse will soon be filled with 41,000 cucumber plants divided into two compartments.
Unlike many other greenhouse growers in the Netherlands, cucumber growers do not have to worry about high energy prices. He has a contract with “pre-war” prices until 2024. “We set the price for four years in 2020,” he explains. ‘Maybe it’s a bit of luck now, but a few years ago it was a conscious choice. At the time, those were normal prices.’
Now that gas prices have fallen again, there is a buzz in the sector that more growers are deciding to cover their greenhouses. Cosdy is somewhat skeptical about this. “If I were in this position, I would stick to my original plan. The turnaround doesn’t just happen. First of all, the grower needs to have a place, but more importantly: energy prices are still highly volatile. Four weeks ago you paid 1.38 euros and now it’s 70 cents. Who knows what the price will do in another four weeks. This uncertainty is a big problem.”
The Noord-Oost cucumber nursery in Oosterhout produces three crops a year. Thus, the annual harvest is 5.5 million cucumbers. The first cucumbers are harvested in mid-February.
Cosdy hopes to have the same fiscal year as 2022. It’s been a good year, though he doesn’t go into too much detail about sales numbers. “People are still hungry. Although cucumber cultivation is said to be expanding, I’m sure we can have a good year.”