Vegetable Farmer – Tebogo Nyathela, Kgomo-kgomo, North West
We planted baby marrows and are currently preparing the soil for our pepper seedlings. We grow yellow and red peppers under shade nets and in tunnels as our main crops. We plant Rubistar and Diva varieties.
The Diva from Stark Ayres is a hybrid sweet pepper with about 75 to 80 days to first pick in summer plantings. It has thick walls and excellent shelf life, even when picked at a bright yellow colour. Our area can be very hot in summer, but it still performs well.
It is disease resistant, especially against the tomato spotted wilt virus. Hygrotech’s Rubistar variety offers almost the same traits. We use seedlings because it saves time and money compared with direct sowing. We get our seedlings at between six and eight weeks and transplant them at a height of 150mm to 200mm. Our plant population is about 20 000 to 30 000 plants/ha at a plant density of two plants per square metre.
After loosening the soil we apply kraal manure as part of our campaign to reduce chemical fertiliser usage. We work with a company that produces organic fertiliser and is helping us with the fertilisation programme. We market our products through the Tshwane and Joburg fresh-produce markets.