What does it mean to carry out a gardening career in 2017? To answer this question, there are many issues to consider and issues still open to evaluate: training and professional upgrading, the hypothesis of creating a newsletter, the information and the use of new technologies applied to equipment, choice between chemical or bio treatments. To offer an overview of all these topics, GardenTV interviewed Luca Caprotti, a professional gardener who has been doing this work for many years, collaborating sometimes with colleagues and cooperatives.
Compared to the beginning as your profession has changed in terms of acquired skills? Do you think that you are importing a continuous professional upgrade? For example, the various "patents" (tractor / fertilizer guide, etc.) and more?
I started doing this right when patents began to become mandatory. Regarding their utility in general, the answer is yes, although some distinctions must be made. Take the case with that for driving the tractors: it is certainly useful for those who work in cooperatives, but the condominium gardener is difficult to be able to drive such a machine.
Different is the talk for pesticides is virtually a mandatory requirement for a gardener, who surely, more or less often, will be buying and handling these products.
It also depends on what kind of gardening practice, whether with a chemical or bio approach; it should be said that even in the latter case attention is required to safety. Courses explain the use of IPRs, which are really fundamental if you want to safeguard from long-lasting occupational illnesses. Even in this field, however, everything depends on how your work is done: I saw gardeners give the sandwheel in the sandal! It is clear that those who work on their own (unlike cooperatives that are obliged to provide all DPIs to employees) are subject to less controls, but this does not mean that these devices, albeit sometimes uncomfortable, are fundamental.
Keeping up on training and updating: how is it up to date about what it is about) its craft? Are you satisfied with the offer of training courses?
For those who want to be formed, the possibilities are really many and many are the training centers. I find it very interesting, however, for those who already have good basic training, also consulting websites that provide up-to-date information.
It is also useful to turn the nurseries to know the new varieties. The ideal would also be to have a piece of ground to test.
The gardening world goes far beyond the idea that the gardener is "the one that cuts the grass", as well as maintenance includes topics such as garden therapy, shared or educational gardens. In short, the more knowledge you acquire the easier it is to be able to spend in different areas.
Is it conducive to the professional recognition of the category and a sort of record? What criticals do you find us?
Certainly I can only be in favor, to counter a lot of improvisation that unfortunately we are witnessing: just now have a medium and open a game of ivory to be a gardener. But this job requires more. A professional record would allow the level to be increased by everyone, to give a homogeneous tariff, would be an advantage for most operators.
Among the critics I seem to see a lack of will: professional recognition is spoken for a long time, but it has not yet come to the result.
There is probably also a problem of green culture by the commissioner who is not interested in the fact that the gardener is formed or not.
What are the most common interventions that you are asked for? Customer requests have changed in recent years?
The job is actually very varied, depending on whether you are working for the public, the private, or a condominium. The most requested interventions are always those of maintenance: lawn mowing, hedges, pruning. In this sense the demands have not changed, nor are the kind of garden. In my view however, the gardener can propose something more.
I often propose bio, although it is not easy to explain the differences, the times required. With regard to this topic, there is some attention, though still marginal, in addition. I tried to apply it to a condominium as well, for dropping a box box on which the windows were looking. It should be said, however, that bio products, in terms of the number of necessary interventions, are not always as efficient as chemical ones and costs become so higher, as more outputs are required.
But this is a theme that requires a different attention to garden management, from fertilizer to pruning, and in some cases changes aesthetics (we think of the meadows).
However, with regard to equipment, did new technologies improve the quality of work? In your view, have you simplified it?
Machines are becoming more and more light and lighter. Companies pay attention to yield, but also for vibrations for greater ease of use.
An increasingly interesting speech is for me that of electrical equipment, although not always the yield is equal, so in my opinion we are not yet ready for a total switch off. However, they are machines that do not pollute, especially for those who use them.
In this regard, some of his colleagues have shown a kind of reticence towards machines such as lawnmower robots, which, according to them, can take away gardeners' work, especially with regard to mowing. Is grass cutting still one of the biggest revenue? Can robots be considered "competitors"?
Even in this case, it depends on how this profession is practiced. Of course, there's someone who sees the robots as a competitor since in an annual work scheduling table, for example a condominium, grass cutting is still the biggest item. I think instead that the gardener, and here again the difference between who is formed and who does not, can for example offer advice on the maintenance, use and programming of the machine and in general about garden management: cutting It's not all.
How do you know about novelties in equipment and machines for your work?
Through specialist magazines and trade fairs, which are for me the best, because they allow you to talk to manufacturers. The only flaw is that often it is not possible to try the machines and instead this is a really important moment. Often we also compare ourselves among colleagues.
How much do you invest in updating your fleet?
With a good initial investment, there is no need for a continuous replacement of the machines.
For standard operations I have a basic fleet, while for extra operations, which take place rarely, I turn to the rental, the classic example is the winder.
Now even in this area you can find everything and rent it also allows you to try out the machines, as well as having ever-new models, even though the cost of the rental is borne by those who commission the job.