HARVEST TIME: Peter Greensill says seedless watermelons are just around the corner.
HARVEST TIME: Peter Greensill says seedless watermelons are just around the corner. TAHLIA STEHBENS

Seedless melons will be here in time for sunny Summer

WATERMELONS are a favourite summer snack for everyone, and the good news is they're just a few weeks away.

Melon harvesting usually begins within the first few weeks of November, and Peter Greensill of Greensill Farming said the different varieties really came down to personal preference.

"Probably nowadays most people would say they prefer the taste of a seedless melon but some of the older folk of the community would say the seeded melons are slightly softer flesh,” he said.

"But from a sweetness perspective they're pretty close to the same.”

Mr Greensill said growing seedless melons required the use of seeded melons to aid in the pollination process.

"Seedless can't pollinate themselves because they're sterile, so we have to use a fertile or seeded plant to get the male pollen,” he said.

"The bees on the farm are there to go from the seeded plant to the seedless so they're inter-planted down the row, so as it travels down the row will accidentally pick up pollen from the seeded plant and pollinate the seedless.

"A bee needs to visit each flower about 35 times in order to have it properly pollinate so the shape of the fruit is perfect.

"You can generally tell if one seed line in the fruit hasn't been pollinated properly because it'll have a flat spot, so if each one of those pollen tubes is not properly fertilised, the fruit won't look proper, so having nice conditions during pollination is important.”

As a general rule, unless the market is short, the seeded melons are left in field to help nourish the soil for the next crop.

So the next time you see a field of rotting melons, just know they're not always going to waste.

Tahlia Stehbens



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