With regard to potatoes, pre-germination is crucial for good growth. Pre-sprouting enables growers to achieve higher yields and start harvesting up to 6-8 weeks before "normal" potatoes. It is important that the potatoes are evenly exposed and ventilated. We talked to Gerold Wilms from bekuplast LLC about what makes a good potato pre-germination box.
"In the past, old wooden boxes were used for pre-germination, but the result was mixed. That is why we have developed a special pre-germination box," Wilms explains.
In order to optimize the process bekuplast has developed special boxes made of new HDPE (and thus in accordance with food regulations): "The potatoes lie in our boxes for 8-9 weeks and must get a good incidence of light and enough air during this time. Therefore our crates, which can be filled with 10-13kg potatoes in a maximum of two layers, have lowered side parts and a coarse perforation. This allows both the even incidence of light and good ventilation. The result is an optimally uniform and stable potato sprouting pattern."
The pre-sprouting crates from bekuplast in action: The Anrather Spargelhof in Willich uses these boxes. (Photo: Anrather Spargelhof)
The material itself also plays a role: "We do not paint the boxes. This makes them slightly translucent, which further improves the incidence of light, especially compared to solid materials such as wood. Nevertheless, the pre-germ boxes are very robust and durable. After planting the potatoes, the empty boxes can be stacked crosswise to save space."