Some Holland greenhouse tomato facts to prepare for your visit to the Dutch horticulture hotspot. Just a few basics on the tomato plant and the vegetable itself.
Tomatoes. You use them in the salad, soup or as a base for salsa. You could say they’re part of you’re everyday life. And I’m guessing you’ve never really thought about the vegetable itself. Let alone the tomatoplant. Well, you might want to get into a Dutch greenhouse, because the whole vegetable production is amazing! Now before you visit the Glass City, are you ready for some Holland greenhouse tomato facts?
How does the plant of a greenhouse tomato look like?
The tomato plant arrives in December at the Dutch greenhouse when it’s between 7- 20 days old. Then it is replanted and repotted. It will eventually be repotted on rockwool (also known as the substrate stone wool or mineral wool). A tomato plant will grow to become 9 meters long.
As you can see on the picture below the ground is covered with white foil. This is to lead the reflection of the sun back to the plants.
The tomato grower will check his vegetable plants every week. In the early stage it is important to lead the tomato stem towards the light. The plant is tied up to keep it upright. In Dutch called indraaien. The vine tomato is a indeterminate tomato. This means so called suckers or side shoots are removed. Pruning the vine tomato, in Dutch dieven improves the actual growing. If a tomato plant has 15 leaves in total it grows at its best.
How long before the tomato harvest?
Around mid- January the vine tomato plants get their first flowers. A family of bumblebees pollinate the plants. It takes about 60 days for the flower to turn into a beautiful, ripe tomato.
How many tomatoes does one plant produce in the Dutch greenhouse?
Vine tomatoes grow in clusters or trusses. Every third leave will have one cluster of tomatoes. There are about 7- 9 tomatoes on 1 cluster. 32 clusters can grow on 1 plant.
In the picture above you see rails. These rails are used in two ways:
- To heat the Dutch tomato greenhouse
- For the pipe rail vehicle. The tomatoes are harvested and transported in containers that roll on the rails.
What happens to the greenhouse tomatoes after harvest?
First a smart system cleans and dries the tomatoes. Then a camera sorts them on color. A special machine weighs and sorts the vegetables on size. In the picture below, you see the numbers of different sizes. The weighing machine automatically sorts the tomatoes.
Last very cool Holland greenhouse tomato fact
A Dutch tomato grower with a greenhouse of an area of 37.000 m2 can harvest 600 fruits, which is about 62 kg, per m2. He then has 2.4 plants on every m2 .
At this moment a Dutch greenhouse uses 15 liters per kilo tomatoes. This is half of what is needed in Meditterean countries. The Dutch intend to cut down the water use to 4 liters.
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