Peter van Beurden, Westland Greenhouses:

CAN (ON): "At springtime, there’s never enough space in the greenhouse"

"Valentine's Day is not as important for us as it is for the flower growers. For us, Easter and Mother's Day are the highlights of the year," says Peter van Beurden of Westland Greenhouses, based in Canada. "In spring, there’s never enough space in the greenhouse."

For years he has been cultivating various spring plants, cyclamen, pot chrysanthemums, gerbera and pelargonium, pot begonias and Christmas cactus in Jordan, Ontario, and also 40,000 units of 25 cm hanging plants are grown.

From vegetables to pot plants
In 1968 Peter emigrated from Schipluiden in the Netherlands to Ontario. He had built up experience in cultivation in his uncle's vegetable cultivation company. "These were very different times. In the Netherlands, it was all about cucumbers and tomatoes in summer and lettuce in winter. I had never heard of peppers." When he arrived in Canada, he started working in the company of his cousin Andy Olsthoorn, who had settled there in the 1950s. They cultivated potted plants, and in summer tomatoes.

In 1976, the two founded a new pot plant nursery: Westland Greenhouses. In the years that followed, the plants also found their way to the consumer after Mother's Day. They stopped the cultivation of tomatoes in order to focus entirely on the plants.

Erfgoed Floor
Over the years, the company grew to around 2 hectares, with the latest construction having been completed last year. The new building is designed with the future in mind, because the water supply is built in such a way that eventual further extensions can also be provided with water.

For this new greenhouse, Peter chose a floor from Erfgoed, which has a Canadian branch not far from Westland Greenhouses. "Many growers cultivate here on concrete floors. The disadvantage of this is that it easily can become 30 to 35 degrees here in the summer and then the floors become hot and do not cool down."

"First I bought a traditional black floor cloth, but when Erfgoed informed me of the introduction of a gray cloth, I went for that. The floor is being controlled with a Hortimax computer. The result was excellent, the pot chrysanthemums that I grew on it were simply stunning and the plants that are on it now look great too."

Service around the corner
In 1982, the first climate computer was purchased by Peter and Andy. "Priva opened a branch 5 minutes from here. That was a godsend, because we had the service within easy reach. The climate here just is different, and that is why the software was adjusted in such a way that computers of Dutch origin could perfectly do their job here as well. To give an example: we sometimes have thunderstorms that can erupt within three minutes. Then of course everything has to be arranged in a hurry."


Regularly to Holland
Meanwhile, most Dutch suppliers have a branch in the neighborhood, but like many growers in his region, over the years Peter regularly traveled back to Holland. To visit the National Horticultural Trade Fair (NVT) and to see the technological innovations. Looking back, Peter concludes: "Every year there is something that changes, but horticulture remains largely the same."

For more information:
Westland Greenhouses (Jordan) Ltd.
4428 15th Street
Jordan Station, Ontario
Canada L0R 1S0
+ 1 905-562-7022

Bredeweg 59
2751 GH Moerkapelle

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