During this time of year the climatic conditions make it difficult to manage our crops. The temperatures are lower, the days are shorter, with fewer hours of light, the rainfall is more frequent, etc. This means that the choice of species to be sown is the correct one and, sometimes, even within the same species, some varieties are better adapted than others to a given growing area. Therefore, the species that are sown during the autumn-winter are more tolerant to the climatic conditions mentioned above.

Some legume species such as beans and peas stand out; leafy, flowery and stem vegetables such as winter lettuces (long romaine, four seasons, oak leaf), spinach and chard, cabbage, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower; root vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, beets, or turnips; and bulbs like garlic and onion.

The rotation and association of crops must also be taken into account when choosing one or another plant species. With these techniques we are able to make better use of the space of the soil and the light, reduce the proliferation of weeds, improve the conditions of the substrate and take better advantage of the nutrients, combat or prevent certain pests, etc. As examples of crop rotation, after a legume we could plant some leafy or root vegetables; garlic and onion prevent diseases that can affect tomatoes; the onion also repels the white fly, like the leek and the carrot, being able to plant leafy vegetables or nightshades after these crops; etc.

hortícolas de otoño-invierno

In addition to these considerations, it must be taken into account that autumn-winter crops tend to suffer from other problems such as:

  • Physiopathies: alterations of various types that cause damage to leaves and fruits, normally related to episodes of abiotic stress.
  • Pathogens: pests and diseases (biotic stress) that proliferate as a consequence of the management of the plantation, such as, for example, an abusive use of pesticides that eliminates beneficial auxiliary fauna, due to the repetition of crops, poorly prepared land, poorly designed irrigation or fertilizer programs, etc.

A sustainable crop management, either under organic or integrated production, using adapted varieties, without neglecting the contributions of organic matter to the soil, trying not to repeat crops from the same family, dividing the nitrogenous contributions as much as possible and enhancing the management of the biodiversity, are some of the tools available to the farmer to reduce the use of pesticides.

hortícolas de otoño-invierno

The independence of pesticides also happens today, by the proper use of fertilizers, regulated at European level by Regulation 2003/2003 (until July 2022, which will enter into force Regulation 2019/1009) and at national level by Royal Decree 506/2013 and subsequent modifications. Among the objectives of Regulation (EU) 2019/1009, the following stand out: promoting the circular economy and innovation, addressing dual-use problems (biostimulants vs. phytosanitary) and providing safety and efficacy to fertilizer products, among others. Seven functional categories of products are established, which include “Plant biostimulants” (microbial and non-microbial).

“Plant biostimulant” shall be understood as an EU fertilizer product whose function is to stimulate the nutritional processes of plants regardless of the nutrient content of the product, with the sole objective of improving one or more of the following characteristics of the plants and its rhizosphere:

  1. Efficiency in the use of nutrients.
  2. Tolerance to abiotic stress.
  3. Quality features.
  4. Availability of immobilized nutrients in the soil and rhizosphere

In the Cultifort R&D Department we anticipate to this Regulation (EU). We have been working for years in functional biotechnology lines to be the first to offer this type of biostimulants to the market.

For the specific case that we treat in this Cultinews, the autumn-winter horticultural crops, and to help the plant maintain its metabolic activity even when conditions are not optimal, we recommend the application of BVC 2021. Its formulation, enhanced by the synergistic action of amino acids and algae in emulsion, also includes nitrogen, potassium and reducing sugars, which provide energy and facilitate the assimilation of nutrients by the plant. BVC 2021 helps the plant to remain physiologically and metabolically active even in adverse conditions, such as lack of light or low temperatures. We have recently improved its formulation through the “Activating Biotechnology CULTITEK” achieving faster and more powerful effects compared to other biostimulants on the market, thanks to the contribution of natural substance precursors and the improvement of the active substance profiles.

Within our innovative R&D line “Natural Defensive Biotechnology” we have developed Spiralis Long Life and Spiralis ECO Long Life. These are fertilizer solutions that include a complex of organic acids and selected peptides, related to green and red algae, of rapid assimilation, which enhance the bioprotective effect against various abiotic stress factors. Spiralis Long Life and its ECO version, promote induction and facilitate the mobilization of precursors of the natural defenses of plants, thereby enhancing the synthesis of endogenous molecules, with high defensive capacity and with systemism. In other words, Spiralis activates the natural defense mechanisms of plants and does so through two mechanisms of action:

  1. Structural changes in the cell walls of plants at the level of their lignification, increasing the synthesis and accumulation of callose and lignin, thus constituting a physical barrier against abiotic stress.
  2. Induction of the synthesis of endogenous molecules with high defensive capacity such as thionins, PR proteins and phytoalexins, among others, capable of attacking the cell wall of certain pathogens when they try to colonize the plant. That is, they prevent damage before it occurs.

Spiralis Long Life and Spiralis ECO Long Life are state-of-the-art formulas with molecules highly compatible with plant tissues that allow their total and immediate absorption (between 1 and 8 hours) and whose effect can last several weeks.

But not everything ends here. There are vegetables that like highly fermented organic matter and others capable of accepting slightly decomposed organic matter. However, life in the soil does not admit or contemplate the organic matter in its interior in a state of fermentation, since this must be done in the presence of air, not in strict anaerobiosis, in several phases that involve from insects to bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms that make up the soil.

hortícolas de otoño-invierno

At Cultifort we developed Microvital-L for more than 30 years, a product compatible with the needs of organic compounds by crops and a “prebiotic”, capable of promoting the activation and development of the soil microbiota. Microvital – L is a natural biological soil activator, rich in magnesium and micronutrients complexed with organic acids and flavonoid molecules, assimilable directly by the plant, without the need for decomposition in the soil. It beneficially influences the physical-chemical parameters of the soil, facilitates the germination of seeds, the formation of roots and the metabolic activity of plants. It provides a differential plus to crops thanks to the flavonoid molecules, with antioxidant properties that protect the plant against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. The organic acids contained in Microvital – L make this product unique in the market, without competition, offering visible results both in the short and long term.

All Cultifort products have been developed using top quality raw materials. Our formulations are zero residue and the vast majority of them are certified for use as inputs in Organic Agriculture.