Martin Sigg is a 3rd generation tomato grower in Pjelax, Finland. His company, Handelsträdgård Martin Sigg Ab, was founded in 1983. Finland is not the easiest area to grow tomatoes, but Martin manages to achieve excellent production with De Ruiter’s Completo on 9,300 square meters.
Martin explains: ‘In Finland, there is very little light during the winter. It is only possible to grow tomatoes in a lit crop. The lighting in our glasshouse is split; 6,300 square meters on a hybrid system consisting of HPS top lighting and LED interlighting and a further 3,000 square meters with 100% LED lights. Following successful trials over two years, we decided to grow Completo across the full 9,300 square meters.
Preferred by the market
Martin: ‘We sell our tomatoes through Botnia Grönsaker. The market prefers fruits, which are a bit smaller than, for example, the variety Merlice. Merlice typically produces 140-gram fruit, whereas Completo delivers tomatoes around 100 grams. Despite Completo’s slightly lower fruit weight, the production is substantial, and the plants can maintain a high fruit load; around 220 fruits per square meter on average. The appreciation for Completo in the market goes beyond fruit size; excellent shelf life and its attractive presentation also make Completo stand out.’
Martin started the crop on June 11th and will finish at the end of May. He grafted the plants on Maxifort but also trialled a row on DRO141TX. Martin: ‘We’re considering a bigger trail on DRO141TX for the next Completo crop.’ Martin started at a density of 2,2 plants per square meter and ends with 2,9 after an extra head in the first week (three on one).
Due to low light conditions, Completo does need generative steering. Martin elaborates: ‘We grow Completo with an average day temperature of 19 to 20 degrees. To make the plant active, we go for a fast drop at night to 15 or 16 degrees. We aim for as low humidity as possible, to keep an active climate. During the darkest winter period, we light for 18 hours a day. Right now, at the end of February, this is reduced to 15 hours. In June, we could do with 7 hours of artificial light.’ Martin continues: ‘Another strategy to support generativity is water: we stop watering at 2 pm and lower the water content at the end of the afternoon in the slab at night. Besides this, we implement more Potassium.’
‘As for labour, Completo is an average tomato. We take out a top leaf every week and take out the extra shoot, and we use clips. To keep vigour in the plant, we keep approximately 12 leaves per plant. A water entry of 3.5 Ec and Kali support this. Overall, the plant’s vigour has been good. No burned leaves and strong, thick truss development. Also, the setting had been good. The flowers come easily.’
Martin is happy with the quality of Completo: ‘Completo produces long trusses. We don’t cut any tomatoes, and most trusses have 10 to 12 tomatoes. Trusses are quite uniform, and the tomatoes are firm. In Finland, colouring can be hard to achieve. But Completo looks nice in the store.’