In today’s world, where reducing our ecological footprint is out of major importance, the biological agriculture provides new insights in sustainable cultivation. Biological cultivation is more than cultivation without pesticides and substrates, it’s a challenging world with intruders and defenders. De Noordhoek takes us on their journey.
It’s a journey discovering the possibilities and risks of nature
Surrounded by cucumbers and tomatoes, a broad diversity of insects and micro-organism are harmoniously at work. When Bumblebees are pollinating the tomatoes, the ichneumon wasps are defending the crop of dangerous pests and diseases that are intruding the greenhouse. When visiting De Noordhoek you realise that a biological balance is centralised in their cultivation strategy, especially to create a happy living environment for their customers. In particular their healthy and sustainable selection of products are drawing the attention of the specific market for biological food. An important factor driving the growth of this market are concerns regarding the environment and our willingness to reduce the ecological footprint.
After years of traditional cultivation and driven by a passion for nature, De Noordhoek decided in 2010 to switch to biological cultivation. Since then, the company experienced that realising crop health is more labour-intensive and challenging. The emphasis is on looking forward, problems need to be sorted out more quickly than within the traditional cultivation. It’s a journey discovering the possibilities and risks of nature. For example, plants that are under attack by pests and diseases need to be recognised in an early stage. “Scouting and monitoring are critical steps in biological pest control, therefore the Work-IT system is essential to keep our crop happy and healthy”.
Taking on challenges, striking new paths and investing in the future are typical for the organisation. Especially when knowhow is scarce, de Noordhoek tests new cultivation methods by trial and error. They always focus on high quality vegetables for their customers. In this successful journey, the company takes next steps; the transition to a more Circular agriculture. That’s why a greenhouse with integrated solar panels and solar thermal collectors is being build. With this promising new initiative the potentials of nature will increasingly being used to improve the quality of the greenhouse environment.
Despite the essential control of the greenhouse environment, within the biological cultivation the need for optimization of the aspects located underneath the surface is increasing. A rich soil life is also beneficial to prevent all kinds of soil diseases. The soil functions as a vital living ecosystem for plant growth and development, regulating water, providing nutrients in a more efficient way and stability for the crop. Therefore, soil preparation and realising a healthy root management are essential.
Starting your own vegetable garden?
Growing your own vegetables is enjoyable and satisfying, therefore De Noordhoek has one tip for being a successful vegetable gardener. Maintaining the crop health is essential. “When you really want to realise a good crop yield, plant a broad variety of seeds for vegetables as well as flowers. Optimizing the biodiversity will attract bumblebees for pollination and insects such as ladybugs for biological pest control. Moreover, crop rotation is crucial for growing healthy vegetables in a nutritious soil”.