Column: 3 years of growing strawberries

Dear readers,

In the first issue of Farmers of Europe, you could read my story and how I ended up growing strawberries in Veliki Banovac, my hometown. I have been farming for three years now and am doing well, if I do say so myself! It is my pleasure to tell you more about life on my farm from now on, in this column for Farmers of Europe.

3 years ago we started growing strawberries outdoors, but this year we also started growing them in a new greenhouse. We made the choice to use the modern technology of horizontal-hanging strawberry plants. Honestly, we didn’t have an easy start. Without any proper knowledge, we started growing strawberries and invested a lot of money (about €9000). Eventually, we came to the conclusion that our strawberries are in demand in our local area but we simply didn’t have enough to sell.

We harvest 2000 kg of strawberries each year and were constantly worrying about the weather. Too cold or too hot, too dry or too wet, none of it is good. Thanks to the new greenhouse, we don’t have to worry about it anymore, and thanks to the horizontal-hanging technology, it’s easier to take care of the plants and harvest the sweet berries. We need less manpower: strawberries are picked on the go, and we can harvest about 20 days earlier now.

Our greenhouse is about 100m², big enough to plant 1.500 strawberry seedlings. This is 6 times more than what we can plant outside on the same surface. In the greenhouse, we are also able to control growing conditions like air, nutrients, water and light. We do this without the help of a computer. If we have the financial means, our next goal is to raise 2 more greenhouses, an investment of €20.000.
With the 2 additional greenhouses, our indoor surface would expand to 550 m², all intended for horizontal-hanging culture. In this way, we can grow 6.500 strawberry plants, good for about 3.000 – 3.500 kg of fruits.

Our goal is to have the additional greenhouses in 2 years. What I would like you to know, dear reader, is that all of this is done without any help from outside. All investments are done with our own money, without subsidies or aid from our municipality, state or the EU. We love working on our farm and, hopefully, if all keeps going well, we can make our dream come true.

The past few weeks, we got a lot of attention because of our greenhouse and horizontal-hanging technology. This resulted in a lot of inquiries from neighbouring countries like Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina or Slovenia to be mentors in their strawberry culture. Unfortunately we simply do not have the time for this, as we are busy on our own farm. I do hope my columns can help other young farmers in one way or another!

Next to strawberries, on which we focus, we also grow lettuce and watermelons. After 3 seasons, I can proudly say that we grow the quality our customers are looking for!

Matija Brinjak started farming 3 years ago in his hometown Veliki Banovac (Croatia). On about 1 hectare of land, he grows starberries, watermelons and lettuce. Matija can count on his wife and family for help when needed. The young farmer invested in a greenhouse to up his production. Plans for the future include 2 more greenhouses.  

Author: Antoon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *