Seedless watermelon growing in Malta

Interview with Charles Zahra at the Qali Farmers Market, Island of Malta

Tell us about your background in agriculture

My family have been working in agriculture for generations. Since a young age I have been
frequently visiting the fields to help my family complete their farming chores.
On enrolment at university I came across a new undergraduate course in agriculture, I decided to
go for it, and have not stopped ever since.

What did you think when you saw seedless watermelons for the first time?

I believe my customers can answer this question better, In any case let me try to answer about
the first time I heard that Australian farmers were growing seedless watermelon.
I was reading through literature about the nutritional value of watermelon fruit, when I noticed that
this particular research was comparing nutritional content of a seedless and seeded watermelon.
The idea immediately struck me, so much so that a day later I when to ask around local
agricultural community about their thought, they all thought I had a crazy dream last night and I
was still at it.

What made you want to bring seedless melons to Malta?

As I already told you, it was both the added nutritional value and the comfort of eating a seedless
fruit that caught my attention. Ok I admit, the challenge from the agricultural community at the
time did give me a boost.

What are some of the challenges you have faced?

Temperature, rainfall patterns, well in short the local climate, but the toughest challenge came
from our customers to explain to them that this was a local naturally grown watermelon and not a

What successes have you had?

Growing the fruit and establishing it as Maltese produce.

How do they taste?

Here have some. Pawlina seedless watermelon has been a huge success in terms of organoleptic
properties, on average Pawlina has 11% Brix.
How does the price compare with other water melons?

The price comes at a premium, considering the additional labour cost, lower production and
higher fruit quality.

Chinese Serenity Garden

The recent Chinese Serenity Garden restoration in Santa Lucia, Malta is breath taking. It shows a striking integration of ancient form and modern function with high tech solar panels and HVAC units tastefully woven into the fabric of what is a thrilling public space.

Ancient Lion modern solar cell lanterns.

New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden has some exciting new gardening classes for spring starting in March! There are great eco-friendly gardening topics such as sustainable pest control, soil basics, planting pollinator-friendly plants in the garden, and container gardening. Browse beginner and introductory certificate classes here:

Vatican Gardens Grounds - Vatican City

Location: Vatican City
There are so many wonders to Vatican City. The immaculately kept gardens and grounds surrounding the museum and  St. Peter's Basilica are miraculous. Visit the gardens and walk the grounds with us through these pictures. The serenity is palpable.

San Anton Presidential Palace and Gardens in Attard, Malta

Location: San Anton Palace G.Portelli, Ħ'Attard, Malta
The Maltese San Anton  Presidential Palace and gardens as well as the garden across the street  at the Corinthian Hotel are exquisite. The palace and surrounding garden date to 1626 and include several fountains, ducks, swan peacock innumerable cats, a kitchen garden and a chapel.The hotel gardens across the way have some great topiary and fountains. For many years it has been customary for visiting heads of state to plant a tree here. If you are in Malta for a few days this is the season for fields of marigolds and a leisurely stroll through a magnificent public garden to enjoy the stately walkways, an orange grove, and ornamental ponds - open for free to the public.

The New York Botanical Garden?

Location: Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY 10458, USA
Where else to learn gardening expertise than from The New York Botanical Garden? Gardening classes at NYBG provide valuable information and techniques to help you grow a beautiful home, container, or community garden. Don’t miss upcoming classes like Soil Science for Gardeners or Apartment Gardeners’ Saturday. Browse all Gardening classes here:

Gardening in a Moat, Mdina, Malta

Location: Mdina, Malta

Mdina, Malta keeps a lovely garden like park in the moat surrounding the ancient fortress. One can only muse at the efforts to keep the lawn so terrifically green and the drainage issues involved. We just might have to track down who might be responsible for this excellent garden that stands guard over the walled city.

Lurie Garden : Chicago, Illinois

Location: Lurie Garden, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

In the heart of Millennium Park is the Lurie Garden. It is one of the most innovative designs for urban garden and narrative. An enclave in the heart of the city that invites interaction and exploration. From the sitting areas that invite you to dip your feet to the beautiful choices in plants. Everything about "The Lurie" beckons to a moment of respite.
 The Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park is a leader in cutting-edge design, responsible gardening practices and dynamic public programming in an urban environment. The garden offers a four-season experience blending Chicago’s past, present and future with bold design, dramatic form and intimate spaces. An urban model of responsible horticulture, the Lurie Garden provides a healthy habitat for a wide variety of plants and wildlife. A diverse group of people from all over the world enjoy the garden’s rich palate of free educational experiences. Created by the founders of Millennium Park, the Lurie Garden is owned by the City of Chicago, managed by Millennium Park, Inc., and is sustained by a generous endowment from Ann Lurie. For more information, visit

Monsanto pulling out of EU? Not likely!

Location: Brussels, Belgium

Reading this first article you would think Monsanto was done in the EU. We aren't that lucky. They are pulling their applications for patents - which as this next link explains the EU has only allowed Corn as a GM. So really Monsanto is simply creating publicity for itself. Because the patents weren't being approved anyway.

A read of this second article tells us that Monsanto doesn't look like its pulling out at all - in fact seems to pledge more investment. Perhaps simply biding it's time for more favorable political environment for GMs?

Obama: US Should Be Global Leader in Climate Change Fight

Location: Washington, DC, USA

Obama's speech on climate change beckons us to sustainable energy as an antidote to the disruption of levels of carbon pollution. The twelve hottest years in recorded history have occurred in the last fifteen years. His policy requires federal government to use sustainable sources as 20% of energy over the next seven years. He asks for the United States to take it's place as a leader in renewable energy.

Many reviews in the green sector criticize the speech as too little too late. But there he is on the national stage with a myrid of other issues and crisis calling for attention. Obama is calling for energy independence with a view to transition to sustainable sources for the future legacy of our planet. He bekons for a bi partisan market based solution for climate change. He says the time for tired excuses is over and calls for us to make a political push and be heard. His plan may be modest perhaps but there it is a plan. Solid research, strongly said, a call to new pollution standards for existing power plants and chastening America to rise to the issue of climate change by pursuing innovations.