Cultivation and sales go together’
Kwekerij Franke in the Dutch town of Monster cultivates various crops in greenhouses measuring over 9,000 m2. Since 2014, Versland Selection has been marketing poly lettuce, pak choi, and fennel on an exclusive basis. Thanks to good cultivation support, Kwekerij Franke managed to overcome the outbreak of Fusarium.
From tomatoes to year-round cultivation of butterhead lettuce
Tomatoes were cultivated here until 2006 and grown outdoors in the first years.
Two cycles of lettuce were then cultivated in the winter period. In the final years, we switched to substrate-grown crops and extended the cultivation period of the tomatoes. However, this meant a halt to the winter cycles of lettuce. ‘I was bored with just growing the tomatoes and what this produced. I had much more enjoyment growing lettuce,’ says Franke. The tack was changed when, in the spring of 2007, the company decided to cultivate butterhead lettuce year round.
More about our leafy vegetables
Fusarium and lettuce cultivation: a close call
In the autumn of 2014, various areas of lettuce were demonstrating peculiar signs.
Some plants did not grow, wilted, and died. This same phenomenon spread to whole patches in the spring of 2015, and it was quickly clear that the explosive outbreak of Fusarium had arrived. Franke explains, ‘That was a disaster. I had no idea what to do; you feeling like giving up. But you have to keep on going, which is why I joined forces with Versland to look at new products.’
Collaboration and effective cultivation support
Modifications have since been made to the cultivation plan.
Now, the company grows pak choi, endive, and fennel, with lettuce cultivated in the winter months. This is proving successful, as Fusarium is not active at low ground temperatures. Franke says, ‘I didn’t really think having all those products in the garden would work. I thought I would have to start from scratch. Luckily, however, Versland has a great deal of knowledge of and affinity with cultivation, and that’s how we arrived at the point we are today.’