Sunshine Grow is a family greenhouse business with a total cultivation area of almost 80,000 square metres. Entrepreneurial drive, innovative capacity, cultivation and market knowledge have been passed on from father to son for three generations. The current directors are Jos van den Berg and his son Jeffrey. Together they run their businesses in Voorschoten (1.5ha) and Spain (6.5ha). Sunshine Grow has 2 cultivation locations in Spain and the Netherlands with various products. In the Netherlands, they grow tropical pot plants such as Hibiscus, Schlumbergera, Croton and Plumeria, while in Spain they grow Mediterranean products like Oleander, Polygala, Citrus and Cycas.
More information about the history of Sunshine Grow is available at www.sunshinegrow.nl.
Groundwater and rainwater are used on both farms. Rainwater is collected in water basins so they always have enough water available.
In the Netherlands they use an ebb and flow system on rolling benches. The water that is not absorbed by the plants is collected and stored again in a water basin, so that it can be reused.
In Spain, they use a rain installation to collect this water too and return it to the water basins for reuse.
Integrated Crop Protection
Biological crop protection is used on both nurseries. This means using natural enemies against disease and pests in the crop. If this is not sufficient, we try to solve the problem locally with as few chemical pesticides as possible. The natural enemies then take over again.
They use mainly own cutting material. When they buy cuttings, this is only done by certified suppliers.
Potting soil and fertilizers
They grow in peat free soil mixture with coconut.
This keeps the soil always moist . This way the plant is always provided with moisture. This also helps that there is always some nutrition left behind in the pot so that the plant can still make use of it.
All industrial waste is recycled. All waste is separated. Cardboard, plastic, soil residues and residual waste are collected separately for optimal recycling.
Because the greenhouse is equipped with double-walled panels, there is a tropical climate in the summer as well as in the winter. The facades are fitted with double glazing in order to reduce the loss of heat and thus the need for heating. In the winter months they use lighting to keep the quality of the plants optimal, while strictly adhering to the government’s lighting policy.
Sunshine Grow has its own truck to bring the products to the auction of Floraholland so that they reach the right customers again. They work together and share transportation with their neighbours to ensure that truck is fully loaded at all times and to avoid unnecessary trips.
Crop Protection Agents Kg Active Ingredient:
Provides insight into the use of plant protection products. Red stands for substances with a high environmental impact, orange for substances with a low impact on the environment, green for substances with a low impact on the environment (Source MPS-A).
Provides insight into the use of the amount of energy. (Source MPS-A)
Fertilizers (KG) Nitrogen and Phosphorus Consumption:
Provides insight into the use of Nitrogen and Phosphorus. (Source MPS-A)
Sunshine Grow owns the environmental certificates MPS SQ and GRASP.
Good contact with employees is very important. This means listening to their ideas and appreciating their input. This ensures that people work more efficiently and have more fun in what they do.
Both men and women work at Sunshine Grow. They work in accordance with the rules laid down in the Collective Labour Agreement for Glasshouse horticulture. Everyone can develop and grow to other positions within the company as far as possible. Hired seasonal workers are also treated equally.
Because Jeffrey van de Berg is still a young entrepreneur and he wants to develop the company for the future, all employees have a signed employment contract and therefore income security. The most important capital in the company are the people.
Did you know that flowers and plants have a healthy effect on people?
Plants provide air purification..
People breathe in air, take out oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. In the case of plants it is the other way around. During photosynthesis, plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and convert it back into oxygen. The amount of oxygen in the air is increased by the presence of plants, which makes breathing easier.
Air-purifying plants can absorb harmful substances from the air through their leaves. These harmful substances are then stored and broken down in the plant’s roots. These plants can also break down dirty odours, so they are actually natural air fresheners.
For the sake of clarity, every (indoor) plant produces oxygen, but not every plant also purifies the air. Air-purifying plants are e.g. the Spathiphyllum, Calathea, Hedera helix (ivy), Areca palm and the Ficus. For many plants we do not yet know to what extent they have an air purifying effect since they have not yet been tested.
Plants ensure a better concentration and a reduction of stress.
Plants create a relaxed and better atmosphere, also at work.. Plants make the workplace a more pleasant place to work.
Apparently there is even a relationship between the presence of plants and the productivity of employees.
Moreover, the presence of plants has a positive effect on the creativity and concentration of people.
Plants reduce the dryness of the air
The dust content and humidity in the house are strongly related with each other. The dryer the air, the more dust. This can cause symptoms such as a tickling cough, dry skin, headaches and irritated eyes. By watering plants, it finally evaporates again through the stomata in the leaves. Plants can thus increase the humidity of the air, which therefore benefits the air quality.
Plants provide a pleasant and warm feeling Research has shown that plants are good for people in various (subtle) ways. They play an essential role in creating a pleasant, natural and quiet environment in which to move, work and/or relax.
Did you know that flowers too have a healthy effect on people? Flowers can brighten up any room in a magical way. They give meaning to our emotions such as love, joy, comfort, compassion and sorrow. Flowers provide a relaxing effect on our constitution. They provide positive energy in the home and a warm feeling. In short, everyone is just very happy about that!
The Dutch greenhouse horticulture sector is worldwide renowned for its innovative power. In order to be one step ahead of the competition from other parts of the world, people are constantly looking for better efficiency in the use of raw materials and space. This, of course, without compromising the (top) quality of the Dutch product.
The glasshouse horticulture sector in the Netherlands can cope with this rapid pace of innovation thanks to a strong relationship between research and practice. In addition, a great deal of knowledge is exchanged between the entrepreneurs in order to make progress together. The flower auctions are a good example of this as one of the largest cooperatives in the world.
Below we describe a few examples of this innovative power.
Biological control and integrated pest management
In order to minimise the use of pesticides and to find a better balance between parasites and their natural enemies, natural enemies of the parasites are used in the greenhouses. Thanks to the intensive exchange of knowledge between the growers and their suppliers, growers are increasingly able to produce a top quality product with organic solutions.
Combined heat and power (CHP)
Combined heat and power (CHP) is a large engine, originating from the shipping industry. Only it has been converted to run on natural gas. The efficiency of this motor is higher than traditional gas boilers. These engines drive a generator that generates electricity. This electricity is used in the company’s own nursery or is supplied back to the public electricity grid. The ‘residual heat’ produced by the engine is used to heat the greenhouses. After cleaning, the exhaust gases can be used to provide the plants with CO2. All in all, these motors provide an efficiency that can be up to 20% higher than the traditional method of heating (gas boilers).
Geothermal energy is used for this type of energy. A drilling tower is used to drill a well to a depth of 2-3 km. At this depth, water of more than 80 degrees can be ‘collected’. This heat is used to heat the greenhouses and then the cooled water is returned to the soil via a second source. It is expected that these sources will be able to continue to produce sufficient heat, even longer than the life of a greenhouse.
Drilling the well is an enormously expensive investment. In addition, there is a great risk that the drilling will ‘fail’. By working together with each other and with governments, in the Netherlands we are able to gain experience with this way of heating greenhouses sustainably.
Plants need water and nutrients to grow. More and more nurseries are making use of the reuse of drainage water. This is water that is collected before it disappears into the subsoil. This ‘drainage water’ still contains many nutrients that can be used by the plants.
By reusing this water and mixing it with clean water, less fertilizer is used.
However, the drainage water also contains some ‘wrong substances’. The content of these wrong substances determines how much water can be reused. The application of new techniques creates opportunities to filter these ‘wrong substances’ out of the water.
In new constructions, more and more growers are opting to cover their greenhouses with diffuse glass. Diffuse glass ensures that light is distributed much more evenly across the crop without any shade or light spots. This leads to a more even greenhouse climate.
Temperature and humidity can thus be controlled more accurately, which means, for example, that the opening of the air windows can be limited, which leads to lower CO2 emissions.
LED lighting in greenhouse horticulture
A new innovation in horticulture is the use of LED lighting. This lighting is not comparable with LED lighting used in consumer use. In the horticultural sector, the lighting is produced by ‘power LEDs’ and therefore much higher. The major advantage of these ‘power LEDs’ is related to sustainable business practices: energy savings compared to high-pressure sodium lamps (orange-coloured lighting). This saves more than half of the energy.
Another major advantage is that when using LEDs, crops can be better controlled using the different colours in the light. This is in favour of a better growth and a higher quality of the product.