Our group packed a lot into day 2, a lot of information in our brains and a lot of unique Netherland experiences.
Our primary reason for venturing across the ocean is to tour as many horticulture related businesses as we can, and today was incredible! There’s just something about the efficiencies that Dutch companies in greenhouse have mastered. Not all of it is applicable to us just because sometimes to reach those master efficiencies our operation would have to be huge, but there’s always something to be learned and applied.
We started our day at a business called Dry Hydroponics. I LOVE the concept of a dry hydroponics system – basically it’s growing a plant in a large pool of water but the ingenious part is that the plant is somewhat lifted so its bottom leaves are never sitting in water. This helps to keep the plant from shedding its bottom leaves, reduces disease, and encourages beautiful rooting.
This facility is a showcase for the pools and floats utilized in greenhouses across the world. Maurice, the owner has a industrial design background from Delft University and a horticulture background. This system isn’t for the faint of heart – it works best in large square footage and needs the attention of a grower to watch pH, fertilizer levels, humidity, light, and plant health.
One of the best things Maurice said on our tour (and something that I firmly believe in and have heard before) is that “the money is at the end of the hose”. Basically, how a plant is grown completely affects its quality and saleability. Traditionally in bedding plant production (what we do at Christie’s Gardens and Greenhouses), we grow on the dry side. A waterer can make or break your crop. Hydroponics is a whole other story. (Picture above: Nadine from Thiels Greenhouse)
Our second stop of the day was at the World Horti Center (pictured above). This impressive ‘greenhouse’ (if you can call it that!) is a brand new facility, so new they haven’t even had their grand opening yet. It’s a center for learning, research, and for industry to have a presence; the three pillars that the Horti Center is based on. Basically it’s a one stop shop for everything horticulture. We toured the industry area, peaked into the research greenhouses (that are still empty), and ate lunch in the cafeteria. This is the place to go for updating education in horticulture or specific learning opportunities.
Our last stop of the day was a tour of a Windmill set up by our BioBest Group representative, Emiel Vanderwel. This specific windmill we visited was built in 1790, and the miller has a passion for windmills that was contagious. (Picture above courtesy of Jason Andersen from Kathy’s Greenhouse).
We got a unique behind the scenes look at a working windmill pumping water from the land into a canal that feeds into the ocean. Again, this blows my mind considering that the greenhouse we visited earlier in the day is literally 2 meters below sea level and a windmill like this still keeps that area from filling up with water. There’s a whole industry of people in the Netherlands whos careers are to pump water to keep Holland dry.
This was our last day in the Netherlands and we all fell in love with Holland. I don’t think any of us can imagine staying away for too long before we’re back.
Funny Moments from Holland:
- Nadine from Thiels Greenhouse had a cheese incident. The night of the 17th a wind storm came up and her window blew open in the middle of the night and sucked a parcel of cheese out the window! Luckily it landed on the stairs outside her window, but that’s all part of the charm of old hotels. Windows that don’t close well and blow open.
- I’m now scared of bikes (just kidding!). No, but really. We all cautiously watch for bikes before walking down the street. If you’ve ever been to Holland you know what I mean.