Melons in the supermarket or greengrocer are usually imported from warmer countries. But in the BEST (Berry Energy Saving Technology) greenhouse they can also be grown in the Netherlands, according to research with mini melons by the Business Unit Greenhouse Horticulture and Flower Bulbs of Wageningen University & Research. In this trial, the melons needed relatively little gas and CO2 and virtually no chemical crop protection agents had to be used. This makes it possible to grow a sustainable local-for-local single-person melon.
In March 2022, the first melons were planted in the BEST greenhouse (which has a bubble foil greenhouse cover), namely mini watermelon, mini Charentais, mini Galia and mini Cantaloupe. The planting density was 3 plants per square meter for the watermelon, and 2 plants per square meter for the other three melon types. A total of six varieties were cultivated.
The aim of the research was to develop a cultivation strategy for single-person melons with low energy input. The first cultivation worked particularly well for Charentais, Galia and Cantaloupe varieties.
The cultivation requires only 4 m3 of gas per square meter and 2 kilograms of CO2 are used. This means that consumption is lower than expected: a maximum of 10 m3 of gas and 5 kilograms of CO2 per square meter should be used for 2 crops. In addition, almost only green crop protection products had to be used during the study.
Watermelon lagged somewhat behind in production. This was probably because the climate was too vegetative for this melon type. That is why the emphasis in the second part of the study is on watermelons: at the beginning of July 2022, the melons were planted in the BEST greenhouse.
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Wageningen University & Research