General
Different varieties of strawberries are to be found in the Netherlands and in Europe, but the ‘Elsanta’ variety is by far the most popular when it comes down to quality. Plantenkwekerij Kapteijns specialises in the cultivation of this variety of strawberry as it is the most important one for the West European market. Kapteijns can supply two types of the ‘Elsanta’ variety: ‘fresh plants’ and ‘waiting bed plants’.

Type
In principle, ‘fresh’ plants are rooted strawberry plants which are dug up in the month of August and then bedded out as soon as possible. This is why they are called ‘fresh’ plants. Fresh plants are offshoots of mother plants which have been specially selected by Kapteijns.

Cultivation
In the autumn, Kapteijns beds out the mother plants in a carefully chosen piece of ground. These mother plants (EE plants) are purchased by Kapteijns from a company specialising in the propagation of high quality mother plants. In the winter, the mother plants are covered with a layer of plastic foil. On the one hand to protect them from the frost and on the other hand to bring the growth forward to the spring.

In May the mother plants flower and to prevent these flowers from growing into strawberry fruits, they are removed.  When they have finished blossoming and all the flowers have been picked, the plant starts to form shoots: any one of these shoots can grow from the heart of the mother plant to a height of 25 cms. This is the way that strawberry plants are grown and from which new shoots continue to appear.  This whole process runs from the end of May to the moment of harvesting the plants in August and continuously repeats itself. After a couple of months this process produces a bed of plants full of new strawberry plants. In August this bed of plants is then dug up with a digging machine and the plants are taken into one of the sheds at Plantenkwekerij Kapteijns. Here they are cut loose from each other and bunched together. The ‘fresh’ plants are then ready to be sold.

Use
The fresh plants are supplied to professional strawberry growers who bed out the plants at their own nursery. In this way they are able to produce strawberries during the following season.