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All the latest news on Starke Ayres’ vegetable seed varieties, and the success that commercial vegetable seed farmers have achieved using them.

This page will also be updated with new seed variety releases and other commercial seed industry news.

STAR 8023 turns up the heat in Pongola

Husband and wife team Mechiel and Rina Radley from Pongola have been farming in the area since 2001. This region of Northern Natal is better known for sugar cane production than for vegetables but the warm winter conditions make it one of the few places in the country that can produce frost-sensitive crops throughout the year. The Radleys started planting marrows on a commercial scale about 8 years ago and production is concentrated between  March and Sept. The variety that they settled on is STAR 8023 because of its’ uniform, cylindrical fruit shape and consistently good yields. The Radleys plant around 30Ha annually and this makes them significant producers.


Mechiel prefers to use a relatively high plant population and an average yield of 18-24 fruits per plant is achieved.  He feels that the drip irrigation he uses on all the blocks along with accurate and timely fertilizing of the plants are the main keys to their success.


Pongola experiences little or no rain during the production period and this means that it is possible to apply irrigation and nutrients very accurately without having to allow for leaching losses. The product is of such quality that top-end chain stores and pre-packers can confidently be supplied.



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