Esuan Hӧll and his son, Rocco, have been planting tomatoes in Pongola, KwaZulu-Natal, for the past 30 years, and for the past five years, they have planted Blye tomatoes.
Using new fertilizer techniques they doubled the yield of this old traditional variety. The Hӧlls have moved away from the old conventional method of applying fertilizer by hand, instead of using the more productive method of fertilizing through drip irrigation with a proper fertilization programme in place. They saw an immediate difference in the plants’ growth and in the quality of the tomatoes, proving that the Blye variety is still a winner if the correct programme and procedure are administered.
The key to higher yields is taking soil and leaf samples at different stages of the plant’s growth to ensure you are on the right track and to give the plant the potential to produce the optimal yield. Applying the fertilizer through their drip irrigation system made it easier to quickly take corrective action if the test samples indicated it was necessary.
A decision to plant smaller blocks of 4ha – which is more manageable and thus minimizes the threat of the tomato leaf miner moth Tuta absoluta (that is taking its toll on tomato farmers from March until July) also proved successful.