Fuchsias and rocket: an unexpected combination
How does a potted plant company specializing in fuchsias end up at Versland?
Johan Wesstein, owner of Kwekerij Wesstein together with his wife and son, is happy to explain. ‘The fuchsia season runs from November to May. That means that the other half of the year is quiet. We’d been looking for something else for the other half of the season, and that turned out to be rocket. The sowing and harvesting season dovetails well with that of the fuchsias. What’s more, rocket is healthy, it tastes good, and it’s nice work. It’s a no-fuss crop.’
Successive growing seasons
Kwekerij Wesstein started growing rocket last year.
Since the first year went so well, the second season will be starting in spring. Johan explains how the seasons for rocket and fuchsias follow on from each other. ‘The first boxes of the bedding plants, the fuchsias, are empty in our greenhouses in April. That’s when the first rocket is sown in that soil. This first batch is ready to be harvested in mid-May. The new seeds go straight into the ground and six weeks later we have another harvest. That means that we have a total of three or four harvests up to November. The fuchsias go back into the soil in November. The growing seasons follow on nicely from each other. We have a total of about 35,000 m2 of greenhouse space for both our bedding plants and the rocket, and this ensures that we have good sales all year round.
Collaboration with Versland
Johan is cooperating with Versland for sales of rocket.
‘I’d heard that Versland is good at organizing sales for growers. We’ve now been able to experience that for ourselves, and the first year has gone well.
Adding rocket to the nursery meant making some adjustments to the nursery, but not many.
‘We bought new machines for the rocket, for sowing and harvesting,’ says Johan. ‘But we didn’t need many extras other than that. The rocket is sown and harvested entirely by machine, so we can have that done by our own people. Fuchsias are much more labour intensive, we always take on temps for that work. We’ve also bought new water collection silos in order to comply with environmental standards. But we should have done that anyway, it isn’t specifically to do with the rocket. All in all, I can say that we’ve given our nursery a completely new dynamic using few resources, and we’re very happy with the result.’