Seed Industry

These New Organic Varieties Help Cucumber and Pepper Growers to Face the Future

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11 April 2024, Netherlands: Thanks to combining both endurance and high production with extensive resistances, Rijk Zwaan’s organic cucumber and pepper varieties are perfect aligned with growers’ needs. The company has produced two leaflets containing an overview of all its organic – and, for some segments, non-chemically treated – varieties. Here, Crop Specialists John Verbruggen, Florian Friedrich and Johannes Van Megen discuss their personal favourites, including some newcomers.

Cucumber Bonsagan RZ is already grown on a large scale

Bonsagan RZ is a new organic cucumber variety for high-wire systems. It is a Bon Defense variety, which means that it has high resistance against the cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV). In addition, Bonsagan has high resistance against powdery mildew (Px). “Both resistances are important prerequisites for organic growers,” explains John, who provides advice and guidance to organic growers in the Netherlands.

This variety also stands out when it comes to production. “Bonsagan RZ produces a high number of not overly large cucumbers: around 350-400 grams,” John continues. “Besides that, the crop is easy to manage, with reasonably sized leaves and good stamina. Multiple Dutch growers are now deciding to cultivate this variety on a large scale. It’s suitable for planting from mid-February onwards,” he explains.

Cucumber Bluesummer RZ holds great potential

The brand-new organic variety Bluesummer RZ holds potential for a wide range of organic growers in many different regions, according to Florian. He is Crop Specialist for Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia and the Czech Republic. “Bluesummer RZ is like a marathon runner. It has great endurance and a long crop cycle, which also makes it interesting for single-cycle organic growers. As a Blueleaf variety with dark-coloured leaves, the plant is very stable and strong against pests, diseases and fungi. Moreover, it performs very well in the heat – and with hot summers and tropical nights becoming more common in many regions due to climate change, this is a very welcome trait.”

The very productive Bluesummer RZ offers many more advantages, Florian explains: “As a Bon Defense variety, it also has a high resistance against CGMMV, which is becoming a problematic virus in more and more regions. And last but not least, the variety is strong against the cucurbit aphid-borne yellows virus (CABYV). This virus is a huge problem for cucumber growers.” Bluesummer RZ has the same resistance package as Blueheaven RZ, which is now also available as an organic variety.

Strong, flexible and productive cucumber Verdon RZ is still Number 1

Florian and Johannes emphasise that the leading spring and summer cucumber variety for organic production in their region is still Verdon RZ. “This has been on the market for 15 years already and is one of the first Bon Defense varieties, which are highly resistant against CGMMV. Verdon RZ is very strong, vigorous and flexible. It can be grown both in tunnels and in high-wire systems. Moreover, it is very productive and gives high-quality cucumbers.”

Red pepper Alzamora RZ becomes main variety after just one season

The Rijk Zwaan crop specialists are equally enthusiastic about the developments in red peppers. The new variety Alzamora RZ seems set to be a gamechanger, especially now that organic seeds are available. “Dutch organic growers have trialled the variety on a large scale over the past year. In fact, the results were so positive that it will be the main variety in organic cultivation in the coming season,” comments John.

The key benefits of Alzamora RZ are quality and productivity, according to John: “The variety is generative and easy to grow, plus it achieves high production of slightly smaller fruits. Thanks to the good fruit quality, the attractive red colour and the good shelf life, this is an ideal pepper. Moreover, the crop sustains good production even at slightly lower temperatures.”

Alzamora RZ is a very attractive variety for organic growers in other countries too, says Crop Specialist Johannes: “In Germany, we’ve run trials under organic circumstances. The variety sets extremely well and is very generative, including in cooler conditions. Moreover, it has a high yield potential – not only in high-tech greenhouses, but also in low-tech tunnels. Because of these higher yield levels, Alzamora RZ will be the best alternative for Nagano RZ and Davos RZ.”

Pepper Redwing RZ is suitable for other markets

If Dutch organic growers are producing for a market that prefers slightly larger fruits, they choose Redwing RZ. This is another vigorous and productive variety that is strong against downy mildew (Lt). John: “It’s not uncommon for growers to cultivate a combination of Alzamora RZ and Redwing RZ. That gives them more sales flexibility.”

Potential for Rashford RZ in Sweet Palermo range

Although Palermo RZ is still the most important red sweet pointed pepper in the Sweet Palermo/Dulce Italiano range, Johannes points out an interesting alternative for the organic market.

“One main advantage of both Palermo Rashford RZ is its earlier production. Another benefit is the slightly lower fruit weight, which gives growers more flexibility when packing twee pieces in a 200g bag.” Besides these advantages, Rashford RZ is a fast-colouring, productive and vigorous variety.

Orange pepper Silverstone RZ shows promise

The last promising pepper variety Johannes wants to highlight for organic growers is the new, highly productive orange pepper Silverstone RZ, which is strong against blossom end rot. “Silverstone RZ combines high production with a high fruit weight. That is interesting for some markets.”

The cucumber leaflet and pepper leaflet provide an overview of Rijk Zwaan’s complete assortment of organic cucumber and pepper varieties. They also include some varieties for which non-chemically treated seeds are available. For advice about which variety is most suitable for you, contact your local Rijk Zwaan representative.

Also Read: ADAMA Launches New Multi-Crop, Broad Spectrum Fungicide Maxentis®

(For Latest Agriculture News & Updates, follow Krishak Jagat on Google News)

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