'To be a succesfull farmer one must first know the nature of the soil'

by G.A. (Gijsbrecht) Gunter, Msc

Soil is fundamental for our existence. Healthy, fertile soil gives us water, raw materials and food. As we do not yet have the capability to create new soils with specific cultivation properties, it is critical to get the best out of the soil we have.

That always starts with optimization. Well-prepared soil leads to a higher yield of Holland Onions and therefore to more revenue. Soil optimization is a complex matter that requires common sense and deep wisdom. Luckily, the Dutch onion grower has plenty of both.

In fall, the farmer knows exactly when to plow his onion field. Or he might make a well-considered decision that it’s better not to plow. The soil should not be too wet, but certainly not too dry. He determines the plow cuts with precision. All the same height, width and length. In the right direction and with the correct depth. He rejuvenates the soil by plowing in the catch crop that fertilizes it before winter sets in. Avoids heavily compacted soil. He nurtures his future onion field because, as the Dutch onion grower knows too well, the onion is a delicate crop.

This is how the life story of the Holland Onion starts — protected by one of its most important companions: the onion grower.

Just like top athletes, Dutch onion growers must prepare perfectly for the new onion season. Soil structure, soil condition and soil quality are therefore ever higher on the agenda of the onion grower. Growing onions in a sustainable and profitable way is only possible if the soil is in perfect condition.

As the Greek writer Xenophon aptly expressed in 400 BC: ‘To be a successful farmer one must first know the nature of the soil’.