Latvian melons conquer the fruit market

This week, Latvian-grown melons are starting to appear in stores and markets. There will also be watermelons in a couple of weeks. Latvia can grow these large fruit tasty enough to compete with produce from warmer lands, Latvian Television reported August 3. 

Maija and Andrejs Kondrjatuks started growing melons and watermelons in Latvia six years ago. Some call them crazy,  but the truth is that Latvia can grow tons of delicious fruit. This year, melons and watermelons are much larger than last year.

"It would be good if more watermelons and melons grew in Latvia and could fill at least half of the market. One should eat what grows within a radius of 200 kilometres around them," said Andrejs Kondrjatuks.

Melons grown in Latvia are much sweeter than those brought from warmer lands. In addition, all of this has been grown without chemicals or pesticides.

"Last year we were in Jordan at the end of September. There, melons are sold on the roadside. Looked the same as these, we think it was the same variety. We bought them, tasted them. It wasn't edible, though it's summer all the time. Obviously, our climate is favorable to them. Maybe they like cool nights, just like strawberries," Maija Kondrjatuka said.

The Kondrjatuks cultivate a few varieties of melons and sixteen varieties of watermelons. Seeds are sown at the end of April, like tomatoes and cucumbers. At the end of May, the sprouts are planted outside and, while there are still cold nights, are covered with film. 

The grower said that watermelons and melons should not be regularly watered: “It can damage melons and especially watermelons."

Melons are ready at the end of July, early August, while watermelons ripen in mid-August. The growers say they cannot give advice on best soil. They have sandy soil and everything is growing fine. They recommend experimenting with varieties and soil.

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