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Not an autumn bloomer, but a spring one!

Dutch grower Kwekerij Zijdezicht was founded in 2002 through a collaboration between Ron van Oosten and John Krijger. Both had been involved in growing asters and chrysanthemums for more than ten years at that time. One of their major buyers, FleuraMetz, paid them a visit.

At one of the three sites we find Ron surrounded by pink and white asters. Piet Ravensbergen, buyer at FleuraMetz, says: ‘I can make rapid changes with Ron. In extreme cases, if I receive an important order late he brings the asters himself.’

The aster is still seen as an autumn bloomer - an image that most growers want to overturn. Ron says: ‘That may have been the case in the past, but nowadays the aster season is being extended through the use of lights in the greenhouse. Because we can simulate daylight, we can deliver the first aster as early as the beginning of April.’

Thirsty flowers
‘Asters need an awful lot of water.’ Ron gestures to a number of vases with new varieties that are being cultivated. ‘Particularly if several asters are placed together in a vase or bouquet, you need to check the vase every day. We always say with a smile: “They like a drink!”.’ Ron therefore recommends putting asters and aster bouquets in glass vases. That means you can see clearly when they need topping up.

Biological cultivation
Kwekerij Zijdezicht believes in biological pest control. ‘The approach that we adopted a few years ago - using chemicals - didn’t feel right. You might even call the results ‘poor’. After a year of testing we’ve switched to primarily biological pest control with effect from January 2017.’ The Preferred Supplier uses far fewer crop protection agents. Ron prefers to fight pests with predatory mites, amongst other things. The bugs are scattered over the flowers using an advanced machine. ‘We tested it on trial sections in 2016, and rolled it out at the end of the winter. We still need to think ahead, but I fully endorse the product that we send out.’

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