It seems to be a quiet time for the flower bulb cultivators, all the labour that need to be done is irrigating the fields when a dry period is ahead.
Meanwhile, however in the minds of the cultivators, it is busier than in the warehouses and in the fields. In this calm before the storm, it is only usual to be nervous about the arrangements for the upcoming harvest.
Staff, machines, drying capacity, the number of crates, and all sorts of matters which have to be in order before the beginning of the season. But the biggest question always remains; how will the bulbs turn out?
Petten Beach Wednesday 16 June 22.00h
It all looked reasonably well, despite the very late flower season the fields managed to remain their colour well. It all looked good, but those two extremely hot days last week, did not do the bulbs much good. You could see the flower fields changing colour.
Neighbour Edwin was all over his bulbs again as well. He is just the right person to ask about his expectations for the harvest.
Edwin cultivates his bulbs in a more scientific way. He lets samples be taken from his soil, so he can know the right amount of fertilizer to five to his Tulips. Almost daily he checks the water level in his field, and he flies a drone over his Tulips weekly, to see if any unevenness appears.
In short, this is not a cultivator who leaves anything to chance.
About the bulbs, on the other hand, Edwin was not at all negative. He would have rather not had those two hot days, but he was far from unsatisfied with the thickness of his bulbs.
They still have a white colour, you see, this means they will still grow a little more, they will get there. They will not spill out of the basket, he told me, be they will be far from bad. “Spilling out of the basket” is an old saying which stems from the time that bulbs were processed in baskets. If the bulbs where thick, they spilled out of the basket.
To get a good impression of the growth, I stopped by Eric as well. Eric has a huge Tulip collection and always starts harvest early.
Just like me, he believes that the bulbs will be fine. However, he says, you could also listen to the wisdoms of the cultivators, who can tell you exactly what will be by using bold sayings.
Typical Dutch wisdoms like, “if it rains in May, April is over” and “snow in November … Christmas in December” and “the seagulls are flying high so the weather will be dry”. These are of course fantastic statements to use for predicting the harvest. But now the sparrows are flying low, so today the rain will flow.
All in all, we think that the bulbs will be okay. The early Tulips, these are the varieties which flower early and die off early, are good for sure. It looks like the late varieties have survived the hot days well, and now Mother Nature has treated us well with a few hefty rainstorms, which the bulbs can use well for the last bit of growth.
The Crocus harvest has already started in some places and there as well I see good looking, healthy bulbs, and I hear good news about the yield.
I think we can look forward to a beautiful bulb season, with good quality flower bulbs.
I quickly went outside again, and spotted some pests, family Lily Beetle. Mrs Lily Beetle was busy laying eggs on the Lilies. De real evildoers are by the way not the Mr and Mrs Lilly Beetle. It is their larvae who do most damage to your lilies.
Carlos van der Veek