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Dutch succulent grower expands with 3.1 ha greenhouse
The rain in the last couple of days and the deviating structure of the new compared to the existing greenhouse makes it a challenging project. "Every row has a slightly different column and trellie. There have been quite some headaches with connecting the new greenhouse to the existing one properly. Usually more than 90% of the columns and trellies are identical. However, that is not the case here."
This video above shows that all the trellies and columns have already been sorted. The concrete piles have been given a number, corresponding to the column that needs to go there. This makes sure that construction will run smoothly, despite the large number of different columns and trellies. Glazing will start in about three weeks from now.
Click here for more pictures
The man behind OVATA is Hans Ammerlaan. In 1974 he started growing and searching succulents as a hobby. As a 7 year old, he received a few Crassula ovata cuttings from a grower and from that moment his passion for propagating and cultivating succulents began.
Hans could expand his hobby into the greenhouse of his father (he had a cutflower nursery). After completing the secondary horticultural school, he made his hobby into his profession. On July 1st, 1987 he began his own company 'Plantenkwekerij Hans Ammerlaan', with an area of 4,000 square meters. Nowadays, the company is called OVATA and has been grown to a 72,000 m² company with a team of 25 permanent employees and is currently expanding with another 30,000 m².
In addition to Crassula, the nursery grows several succulent families such as Aloe, Gasteria, Haworthia, Pachyphytum and Echeveria. The mainly grown pot sizes are 5,5 cm XXL and 12 cm. The succulents are from a high quality and a large assortment are own varieties, such as their own brand ‘pure succulents’.
OVATA is very advanced in the field of sustainable cultivation. The nursery has a positive CO² footprint, i.e. there is no CO² emission and there is no gas consumption. Residual heat is used. In addition, the grow-pot is made from 100% recycled material and the nursery is certified with MPS A +, MPS GAP and MPS SQ.
The nursery maximizes the use of biological pesticides and does not use neonicotinoids.
The nursery celebrated its 30th anniversary this year and, when OZ planten asked Hans Ammerlaan about the secret of OVATA's success, he immediately said, "We have a very strong culture, we do business with pleasure, so with great passion for the cultivation and focus on the customer, but also with room for fun."
What the typical OVATA culture also features is the care for others, especially the "Because We Care" project, helping women in Uganda to lighten their pain caused by lips and ears being cut during the last war. For this project OVATA donated plant material for 1500 Aloe Vera plants in 2012 and still controls the distribution for the plants. From the cuttings a field has been created, the maintenance is also financed by OVATA. Every woman gets cuttings from this field to re-establish their own field. The gel in the Aloe Vera has a pain relieving effect, the women are taught to make an ointment of the gel.
source: Havecon, OZ Planten
Author: Geert Peeters
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