Experiments on growing varieties of melons and gourds were carried out by scientists from the Vavilov All-Russian Institute of Plant Genetic Resources (VIR, St. Petersburg). The harvest of watermelons and melons was obtained on the Kola peninsula at the polar experimental station in Apatity.
Exactly the same varieties of watermelons and melons were planted in the Krasnodar region. At the same time, the fruit were cut at the Arctic and Kuban stations on the same day and delivered to St. Petersburg, where a special commission conducted a tasting and took samples for biochemical analysis.
It is reported that in the North, the bet was made on the polar day. In the same place, the crops were planted in a greenhouse, but not additionally illuminated and not heated. Fertilizers were not used either. In the south, melons and watermelons were planted in open ground.
“We assumed that some genotypes would respond well to long polar day conditions and be able to form fruit well. Our expectations were justified: the long polar day contributed to the fact that we can recommend several studied varieties for the conditions of the Arctic. The experiment involved several varieties of pumpkin, which did not form fruit. But the most interesting selection is watermelons and melons. At the polar station, the fruit were of fairly good quality. The analysis showed that the weight of the fruit was practically indistinguishable from the fruit obtained in the conditions of the Kuban station”, the institute said.
Scientists will recommend cultivating Surprise watermelons and Yuzhanka melons in the Arctic – the experiments with them have turned out to be the most successful. In addition, in the future, they plan to begin experiments with the cultivation of kiwi and grapes.
By the way many Norilsk residents grow various crops at home, and some also manage to be engaged in gardening on land plots. In addition, in the mid-1940s, a full-fledged state farm worked in Norilsk, and they harvested tomatoes, cucumbers and even watermelons and melons in greenhouses. Now the Norilsk Greenhouses company is engaged in the cucumbers, lettuce and herbs cultivation in the city.
Text: Mikhail Tuaev, Photo: polar experimental station VIR