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Vertical melon cultivation in Sicily

"This year, the melon campaign went well thanks to our newly-introduced vertical cultivation method," explains Rosario Spataro from Ispica (RG).

Photo: netted melons cultivated vertically in Ispica (RG)

Spataro has been cultivating organic produce for years and is very happy about it, especially since Coldiretti recently reported a "16% increase in organic produce retail sales in 2017."

"In addition, the largest area dedicated to organic crops in Italy is actually located in Sicily, with 363,639 hectares." 

Entrepreneur Rosario Spataro

"The season ends approximately when summer ends and this year was good for plum, cherry, bunch and date tomatoes. As regards courgettes, the trend was rather stable despite the fluctuations due to the weather in winter."

"As in previous years, the production of netted melons, canary yellow melons and mini-watermelons was excellent. Commercialisation was uncertain at times due to consumption fluctuations in May-June caused by the unfavourable weather conditions in Northern Italy and Europe."

What makes the difference between a good and a bad year is the production technique. Spataro chose a vertical cultivation technique as "it gave us great satisfaction over the past three years in terms of both yields and quality, making ours a company of reference in the melon segment."

"Thanks to our new cultivation technique, production increased by 30% compared to last year and we hope we can grow more."

"This year, the 5 hectares of netted melons produced 300 tons. The initial price in May was €2/kg, while the latest fruits were sold at €1/kg. In addition, we cultivated 20 hectares of mini-watermelons, which produced 500 tons. In this case, prices remained average at €0.80/kg between May and July. Canary yellow melons were cultivated on 8 hectares, with a harvest of 300 tons which maintained an average quotation of €0.80-0.90/kg between June and September." 

Netted melons

"All in all, the year was rather good, especially considering that the price of carrots and potatoes (very popular crops in this area) dropped since June."

Publication date: 9/12/2017


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