Mat blocks, a Grodan growing medium, can be used for growing gerberas, among other things. As a sparring partner of growers and propagators, Grodan is closely involved in this development.
Aryan Aziezie, Account Manager Floriculture, sees the shift from Grodan Grofit products to mat blocks up close. "The Grofit substrate has long been a favorite product for gerbera growers, as it easily absorbs water and lets it through again. The product is very easy to use. In the last year in particular, however, we are seeing a large group of gerbera growers making the switch to stone wool in mat block format," says Aryan. Grodan is an established name when it comes to precision growing within vegetable growing, the process of tracking and steering based on data. The development in gerbera cultivation makes it relatively easy to translate the knowledge and expertise from vegetable cultivation to growers using mat blocks."
Watering based on data and feel
Switching from the Grofit solution to mat blocks has several advantages, especially on a technical cultivation level. For instance, a mat block facilitates the plant to root more firmly into the mat block. The advantage of this is that the gerbera flower can be picked in a simpler and correct way, thus causing less damage to the plant.
In addition, water content meters can be inserted into the mat block, helping the advisor and grower to realize benefits in terms of watering, oxygen, EC, root temperature, and plant resilience. Watering can be tailored more precisely to plant needs. The use of mat blocks is also expected to eventually result in similar cultivation results.
Rik Paul of Kwekerij Zuidplas is also watching the developments with interest. "We were looking for ways to set up our operations more efficiently, and we saw that there are Gerbera companies that have been successfully growing on mat blocks for years and were curious to see what it could mean for us. We set up trials with mat blocks in recent years and saw similar growth and made the switch to mat blocks. We have rearranged the watering, the blocks are a lot wetter, we now give fewer turns with longer intervals, and especially in winter, we stop earlier."
With Grofit and the mat blocks, Grodan has two good substrate solutions for gerbera cultivation. Each gerbera grower's preference may differ based on cultivation and product preferences. Aryan stresses that Grodan always thinks along with the customer so that the production process is safeguarded with the change from Grofit to mat block. "We are happy to assist the customer with our expertise in the technical cultivation field, so a possible switch will always go smoothly."
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