Marginpar's Journey to Sustainability - Part 4

To cover or not to cover.

By: RONALD BOSCH | 20-12-2023 | 3 min read
How It Works Sustainability
marginpar farm

Around two years ago, I started to work as an agronomist with the Marginpar group in Kenya. After a proper introduction and visiting all the farms, it became clear to me that the production of quality summer flowers still depended heavily on chemicals. That had to change. Together with the directors, it was decided to develop a five-year strategic plan for agronomy. The primary target was reducing chemical inputs and introducing a more sustainable summer flower production method.

In a series of blogs, of which this is the second one, I’ll present the results of implementing a so-called Farm Manual with a different topic such as soil-borne pathogens, and crop protection.

To Cover or Not to Cover

Did you check my previous three blogs in this series?

  1. Management of the Soil-Borne Pathogen
  2. Supporting the Biological Life in the Soil
  3. Planting Material, an Accelerated Start

This fourth and final part deals with planting material and how to accelerate plant establishment.

Whether to cover the soil or not to cover the soil has been a topic that was already debated during my years in university. I must admit that I first believed that soil with no crop would help manage nematodes and soil-borne pathogens. However, over the years, I have started to change my mind, and within the farms, we began to use a cover crop. This was later fine-tuned by using a mixture of species.


Marginpar Hypericum in Kenya
Hypericum at Marginpar in Kenya


What Are Cover Crops?

In regenerative agriculture, cover crops are used to positively impact soil structure, microorganisms, water, and nutrient status and suppress weeds. In the Marginpar farms, cover crops are planted at the end of a crop cycle. The composition of the different species used in the cover crop mixtures is mainly determined by the farm's soil type and altitude (low-land and high-land mixture) and the specific goal.

Benefits of Cover Crops

Cover crops provide several benefits for the farm:


Marginpar soil to cover crop
improvements in soil structure and soil life


Although the trials in the farms are still ongoing, some exciting results have become noticeable, for example:


Marginpar cover crop
Cover crop at Marginpar



The farms have noticed improvements in soil structure and soil life; however, we are still learning, for example, how to maximize the germination rate, when and how to terminate the cover crop, and determine the optimum varieties and mixture. And finally, what is the impact of soil moisture, pH, structure, and nematode on the different cover crop varieties?


Marginpar Hypericum field in Kenya
Hypericum at Marginpar in Kenya


Thank you for reading my blogs!

Want to know more about my job at Marginpar? Read this article about me called 'Cultivating Nature's Marvels'.

Ronald Bosch profile picture
Ronald Bosch

Ronald A. Bosch is passionately dedicated to sustainable flower cultivation. With a background in tropical agriculture and a specialization in tropical phytopathology from the Dutch Wageningen Agricultural University, Ronald's journey into the world of blooms has taken him across continents, nurturing his expertise and love for the floral kingdom.

Ronald's career has blossomed from the Caribbean to Latin America and South America, finally finding its roots in Africa. In 2021, Ronald joined the Marginpar family, driven by the goal of enhancing the sustainability of their flower production. Flower brand Marginpar, a proud member of the FSI, has set its sights on achieving 100% sustainable flower production, and Ronald is at the helm of this green mission as their agronomist and phytopathologist.

But what does that mean, you ask? Ronald is no ordinary flower aficionado; he's a master of plant pathology, an interdisciplinary field encompassing botany, microbiology, crop science, soil science, ecology, genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and physiology. Agronomists like Ronald conduct intricate experiments to unearth the best practices for elevating crop quality and production. With a profound knowledge of chemistry, biology, economics, earth science, ecology, and genetics, agronomists can be aptly described as "crop doctors," committed to ensuring the well-being of the Earth's harvests.

In the world of sustainable cultivation, soil is the foundation, and it's where Ronald's quest begins. Ronald's burning question revolves around sustainable soil management. This is a challenging journey, especially in the realm of summer flowers, where research has predominantly revolved around crops like roses, often conducted by rose companies themselves. Ronald and his team are determined to chart new territories in understanding the limits and potential of their own precious blooms.

So, if you're curious to learn more about Marginpar's journey towards sustainability, be sure to follow Ronald’s blogs.


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