Organic Bulbs: Dutch Farmers Growing Greener

I was surprised to see tulips instead of something edible on the cover of this month’s Organic Gardening. Inside, our friend Marty Ross explores the growing movement to adopt greener practices in the Dutch bulb fields – with several comments from our long-time Dutch friend and supplier Carlos van der Veek.

“Tulips represent 50% of the billions of flower bulbs grown every year in the Netherlands,” Marty writes. “At present, only a small percentage of them are grown organically. . . . But in Holland, attitudes and practices have begun to change.” Wilbrord Braakman, a leader in the movement, “has been growing bulbs organically for about 25 years. In the best years, his harvest exceeds that of conventional growing methods, he says. Braakman also teaches classes for growers who are interested in limiting their use of pesticides and in improving their soil.”

“Conventional growers are following the organic trend with considerable interest,” Marty adds, quoting our friend Carlos van der Veek. “‘I have open eyes to use as few chemicals as possible,’ and most growers feel the same way, Van der Veek says. The growers who follow completely organic practices ‘are true pioneers, and hopefully they will find ways of better growing which can be used by the whole industry.’”

As Braakman says at the end of the article, “We, the farmers, have it in our hands.” Read the whole article here at the internet archives.