Melons fruit of choice for home grow­ers

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

WA­TER­MELON and rock­melon are ex­pected to be good sea­sonal pro­duce for back­yard grow­ers mov­ing into the sum­mer plant­ing sea­son.

With most mar­kets around the Bur­nett re­gion not start­ing un­til March, there is time for in­de­pen­dent pro­duc­ers to make a start.

Grower Robert Now­land said melons grew un­ex­pect­edly well in dry soil.

“A lot of the stuff you get nowa­days is al­most like a desert food; they grow ter­rif­i­cally in the dry soil,” Mr Now­land said.

“You still need to water them, the wa­ter­melon and the rock­melon, but the sandy soil does them good.”

Mr Now­land grows many fruits and veg­eta­bles for mar­ket and has a home­side stall at Mill Rd.

Be­ing able to grow in dry con­di­tions is im­por­tant, as early fore­casts sug­gest a drier than av­er­age Jan­uary.

For most types of pro­duce, grow­ers will have to rely on ir­ri­ga­tion, but Mr Now­land sug­gested a cou­ple of tricks for get­ting the most out of dry weather.

“For Jap pump­kins I let them strug­gle a bit, don’t give them as much water,” he said.

“That way they don’t get mashy, it makes them firmer on the inside and taste bet­ter.”

Mr Now­land has been sell­ing at the pro­duce mar­kets for more than 50 years.

PHOTO: JACK LAWRIE

DE­LI­CIOUS PRO­DUCE: Robert Now­land pre­pares for mar­ket sea­son.

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