How to cultivate hydrangeas – TvAgro por Juan Gonzalo Angel

(Music) (Narrator) Under a warm mountain gaze lies a territory full of industry, tradition, and flowers. It is the town of Carmen de Viboral, located in the Western region of the province of Antioquia, Colombia. Within one of its villages lives a family that is dedicated to growing hortensias, a flower that adorns the light brown prairies. This work has become the perfect excuse to conduct family gatherings centered around one of their most prized flowers, hortensias. (Man) What I like about this flower is its size, the fact that it´s very pretty and sought after… It has a very distinctive look, which you don´t find in other flower plantations, That´s why I like this flower, for its size. We´ve been working with it on this farm for 2 years now, and we work as a family… you have less disagreements than with non-family, because sometimes it’s hard to make oneself understood with a stranger… another advantage is that we share our earnings, she helps me out, and I help her out. that way we help each other out, so that’s the advantage of working with family, we’re very close in everything, thanks to God. (Woman) We wake up between 4:30 and 5:00 AM First of all, we take a shower and we get ready, then we brew our coffee, we drink coffee, and we go into the living room. When I wake up early to water the plants, I hydrate, and he puts on the caps. By 6:00 AM, when they men are off to work, then I stay here alone, I finish hydrating and I keep on pruning. (Man) My work is out in the field, I monitor it every day, to make sure the plants are producing, that they are growing well, and to take the flowers to the wholesaler, that is what I do, all of the field and harvesting work, and then there’s the work my wife does, she takes care of pruning, hydrating, and packaging. My daughters generally work out in the field, doing things like securing the plants, and general crop maintenance. (Narrator) The Alzate Velez family enjoys every moment they spend together, for them hortensias represent unity and love, and they have also become their sole source of economic sustenance. (Man) Our family makes a living from this exclusively, from the farming and harvesting of Hortensias. (Woman) I think working with Hortensias is very good because it allows me to stay very close to my family. (Narrator) Hydrangeas, also more commonly known as hortensias, are bushes with large leaves and colorful blue and pink pom pom shaped flowers. They can reach a height of 1.5 meters, and produce copious flowers. The Hortensia is originally from Asia Minor, but it has managed to adapt to many different climates, including Colombia’s. Today we are visiting a plantation situated in one of Carmen de Viboral’s 57 villages, located 2,150 meters above sea level, with an average temperature of 17º Celsius (Man) The process for growing this crop starts off with preparing the terrain, designing it very well, it can´t be a nasty terrain, and neither very steep nor craggy. After preparing the terrain, after you´ve worked to get it in ready condition, you start to prepare the seedling beds, and you have to start selecting the cuttings. (Narrator) The preferred propagation method for Hortensias is through cuttings. First we select an adult stem, then we make the cuts, trying not to injure the plant, then we apply root growth hormones, prior to finally planting them in seedbeds, and then wait for the cycle to finish in order to transplant them into the field. (Man) After selecting the cuttings, comes getting the plants ready to the point where we can plant them, so they can begin to germinate and grow. After they germinate, we make a little pot and we mix in organic fertilizer and you take the plant out of the seedbeds and you take it to its place in the field. (Music) (Woman) Hortensias are very popular ornamental plants thanks to their enormous flower heads. The leaves measure between 7 and 15 centimeters. They are thick, pointy, have serrated edges, a deep green color. Their flowers grow in terminal bunches that consist each of 4 small petals, which agglomerate into a beautiful export-quality bouquet. (Narrator) Did you know that the Hydrangea Serrata produces a sweet beverage? We’ll have more information after these messages. (Narrator) Flowers and More (Narrator) Did you know that the Hydrangea Serrata produces a sweet beverage? The Hydrangea serrata is a bush that can reach a height of 1.5 meters, its serrated leaves are used in Japan to make a beverage called amacha, This sweet tea is primarily served during ceremonies celebrating the birth of the Buddha. (Narrator) Bed Prepration (Man) The planting beds are prepped with fertilizer, In 1 meter beds. The spacing should be 50 cm between each plant, and 80 cm of planting bed. (Narrator) After being transplanted, most seedlings need to be kept away from direct sunlight. This is done by creating shade with black shade cloth, which reduces light by up to 60% thus preventing plants from withering or burning. (Man) Illumination must be normal. To grow this type of flower, it has to be in a greenhouse equipped with 65% shade cloth, without too much light, but without being too dark, either. Because otherwise, this flower would not grow as well as we grow it here. (Music) (Narrator) It is very important to constantly monitor hortensias through all parts of their growth cycle. Among the most important crop-related labors are weeding, trimming, using tutor wires, fumigation, and watering, all of which are required to produce high quality flowers (Narrator) Weed control (Man) Weed control consists of taking out the weeds so that the crop remains beautiful, so that there won’t be me too many plagues. It’s something you have to be constantly doing. (Narrator) Trimming (Man) Trimming consists of cutting away useless offshoots. We also trim away bad flowers, those that won’t meet our standards, we cut them off. (Narrator) Wire Tutoring (Man) The advantage of tutoring wires is that the plant will grow very straight, and you put the tutor wires when she’s 50 cm tall, that’s when we start with the tutoring wires… We do this because they tend to grow very tall, and even more so when they grow in a greenhouse…. so that’s the advantage of using tutor wires, so that the flower can grow with a straight stem. Here we always have someone that is tying up the stems, because if you just let them be, then they will start falling over each other, the paths will be obstructed, and there won’t be space to walk around, much less space to fumigate. (Narrator) Fumigation (Man) Fumigation is performed 2 or three times per week, depending on what plagues are present, so if we have mites, we use a mite formula, if we have trips, we use trips formula if we have butterflies, we use butterfly formula, depends on the type of plague. (Narrator) Drip irrigation system (Man) The advantage of this is that the plant will always have food, fertilizer, and will never lack water. You don’t have to worry about having a worker out with a hose all day, watering the plants. The timer is designed to go off twice per day, it starts off at 7:55am, and it goes on for an hour and 5 or sometimes 10 minutes. At twelve o’clock, it starts up again, it turns on until 1:20pm. So as you can see, it irrigates twice per day, which is a great advantage, since you can be doing other labors at the same time the crop is being irrigated, you are not wasting or investing your time in irrigating the crop. (Woman) The coloration of the Hortensia flower depends on the soil in which they are cultivated. If it’s acidic, the flowers tend to be blue of purple, but if it’s neutral or alkaline, they tend to be red or pink. In this plantation, we find different types of hortensias, like the lemon green, mini green, anti-green and white select. (Narrator) Did you know that the Hydrangea Arborescente was used by natives to treat diseases? (Narrator) We will tell you more after these messages. (Narrator) Flowers and more (Narrator) Did you know that the Hydrangea Arborescente was used by natives to treat diseases? (Narrator) This type of hortensia is the Hydrangea Arborescente, from it you can extract a powder that has diuretic and diaphoretic properties. (Narrator) In Homeopathic medicine, it is used to treat gall bladder and kidney stones. It also contains saponins, which is why some hortensias are slightly toxic and can cause vertigo, chest tightness, and skin reactions. (Narrator) The language of flowers (Narrator) Gifting hydrangeas, is an habit that comes from the XIX century, when Charlotte de Latour gave a significance to each flower in the book “the language of flowers” Since then, flowers with their shapes, sizes and colors communicate feelings and wishes. Nowadays, flowers are still gifted around the world in special days like mother’s day, woman’s day and Valentine’s Day. “There shouldn’t be hydrangeas in the house or the girls not marry.” Thanks to this saying, hydrangeas did not count with great popularity, but today, they beautify different ceremonies and spiritual rites, showing once more that we are the ones that give their true meaning, with each detail and intention. (Narrator) International markets demand a quality flower. Fertilization is one of the most influential factors in the development of flowers. Providing each seedling with the right nutrients will allow us to obtain a better yield for the crop. Once the flowering cycle has ended, the hortensias are harvested. The cut is performed according to the client’s specifications, making sure that there is not excessive sun, to prevent the flowers from burning, they are then transported to the post harvesting area, where they are selected, trimmed, hydrated, and then packed, and then they are ready for export. Monitoring the flowers is one of the fundamental activities. We also must shake the flower buds in order to detect they are harboring disease, and thus prevent it from propagating to to ther plants. All of these tasks must be performed maintaining high quality standards, so as to produce export quality flowers that will sell easily abroad. (Man)
We go over there for the post-harvest, and there monitor it and cut the flowers to size. The measure that we normally use is approximately 60 centimeters between the flower and the stem, Then we package it in barrels, and then it´s up to the person in charge of grooming to make sure that the flower comes out looking clean, the way the market demands. (Woman) Well, after they are assessed, they are cut, and they are put in this barrel, and then in buckets, 10 a piece. After that, I look at each flower, and I take out any dead bits, because if dispatch the flowers without grooming then, they can rot. Hortensia petals often wither, either because of a toxic chemical, or because it´s way too hot. From this room, I pass them to another room, which is where I hydrate them. (Music) (Narrator) After grooming, the flowers are taken to the hydrating room. This process will allow the flowers to remain healty for a longer period of time. (Music) (Woman) After grooming, we go to this part of the room to hydrate. We add flower food the water, then we fill the little bag we close it off with a rubber band, and we twist until we can´t twist any more. This prevents the flowers from drying out or dehydrating, making sure the flower
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is always fresh. Then we put it inside bag, like this… (Woman) These are the steps required to transport the flower. If you don´t follow this procedure, then the flower will not arrive fresh to market. Thanks to this process, the flower can last 8 days or more, it can last anywhere from 8 days to 15 days. (Woman) Once the Hortensias bloom, they can remain at peak condition for up to four weeks. They are known for their bright and attractive coloring, They can be white, green, purple, or pink, and there are many different shades of each color as well. (Narrator) Do you know how many types of hortensias there are? (Narrator) If you want to know more, join us after these messages. (Narrator) Flowers and more (Narrator) Do you know how many types of hortensias there are? (Narrator) The hydrangeas have over 100 species. Among the most known are the hydrangea macrophyla, the hydrangea arborescens and the serrate. All of these, with different characteristics that make them unique. (Narrator) Flower are successfully sold in the international market, which demands ever improved competitiveness. The quality of these flowers is superior thanks to the temperature, altitude, and the soil. (Woman) After the entire harvest process is complete comes the commercial stage. First, we have to file the paperwork with the freight forwarding agencies, so they can move our product. And after this process, we start to file the shipping manifests, then they tell us of of plan availability, they confirm the reservation, we complete the paperwork, and then we send the shipment to the Rionegro airport and from there it goes to the United States or Japan, which is where we are exporting to right now. (Woman) To make sure our clients are satisfied with our packaging there are some requirements: One is for the flower to be well hydrated we pit the hydrating cap with enough water, then we put on this hood which helps to protect it so that it won´t get damaged while on route, then we package it in the cases, and we put some paper at the bottom of the case for protection, so that the box won´t fall apart before its final destination. The customer specifies the type of boxes we need to use, if long, full size, etcetera. Right now we are shipping in just two types of boxes. The customer demands that the flowers arrive in perfect shape, without a blemish, and well hydrated, so that it can last a longtime. (Woman) We pack the jumbo hydrangeas 13 to a case, the blue select or white select we pack 40 to a case, the mini green, we can pack 40 or 50 depending on the client, since they tell us the exact amount to pack in each case. (Music) (Woman) The hortensia we grow here is Hydrangea Green, Hydrangea lemon green, and hydrangea jumbo white, hydrangea white select, and hydrangea purple. (Narrator) From Carmen de Viboral we learned about cultivating hortensias It´s a place where people strive every day to export a product of the highest quality. Hortensias require careful management in the field, constant fertilization and monitoring, This will allow this ornamental bush to reach its full potential, and grow bunches of various colors. It´s important to emphasize that the work done by the persons involved in each of stages in growing this flower: Planting, harvesting, and post harvesting is the key to success in the marketplace. (Music)


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