Sweet subtropical fruit harvested on River Sozh

Rechitsa farmer Victor Zalessky celebrates ten years of growing his own watermelons

By Nikolay Zhdanov

Rechitsa farmer Victor Zalessky celebrates ten years of growing his own watermelons

watermelon.pngEvery morning during the watermelon season, Ivanovka residents line up at Victor’s shop counter to make their purchases, knowing that these fruits are not only cheaper than those from Krasnodar and Astrakhan but just as juicy and tasty. A truck travels from the Gomel farm in the Rechitsa District each day to the local market.

The Zalessky brothers both graduated from the Belarusian Agricultural Academy in 2005. Soon after, they opened their farm enterprise, having sold their own car to generate funds. Alexander and Victor initially leased 18 hectares, sowing cabbages, onions, peppers and potatoes before introducing watermelons over one hectare. They researched thoroughly beforehand and found seeds in Belarus, with others ordered from Krasnodar. 

Their ‘Romanza’ Dutch watermelons have proven a success and now cover 70 hectares, even inviting interest from the Head of the Institute of Vegetable Growing, at the National Academy of Sciences. He came to visit the brothers’ farm, giving a thorough inspection. The pair remain aware of the risks, since much depends on the weather; sunshine is essential, which was lacking this year, turning some watermelons yellow. Curiously, weeds helped save the harvest, so it was fortunate that the farmers refrained from a second weeding. Their harvest (brought in with neighbours’ help) reached about 60 tonnes from just two hectares.

“We’re very satisfied with our watermelons, which are tastier than imported rivals. They’re sweet right up to the skin, while imported ones (especially those sold in summer) are sweet only in the middle. Ours are also organically grown, without nitrates or chemicals,” the brothers declare.
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