Scientific Secretary Yulia Ukhatova from the Vavilov Russian Institute of Plant Genetic Resources reports that the Institute’s researches have managed to grow melons and watermelons in high latitudes. The experiment was carried out at a polar station in Apatity in greenhouses, but without additional heating, lighting, or fertilizers. Simultaneously, the same varieties were grown in the Krasnodar Territory.
Arctic.ru quoted Yulia Ukhatova as saying: “We thought that certain genotypes would respond well to the polar day conditions and would be able to bear fruit. Our expectations were confirmed: the long polar day helped us choose several well-studied varieties to recommend for the high latitudes in the North. […] Melons and watermelons are the most interesting results. The quality of fruit at the polar station is quite good. Analysis shows that the fruit weighs almost as much as those grown at the Kuban station.”
The fruit at the Kuban and Arctic stations were picked on the same day, September 10, after which it was sent to St. Petersburg. A commission of 14 members tasted them and sent samples for biochemical tests. The Surprise variety of watermelon, with the yellow skin, proved to be the best.
In the future, scientists plan to start experimenting with kiwifruit. They are also reviewing the possibility of growing grapes.