Screening Vegetable Varieties from Asian Seed Companies for Australian Markets
Field trials with new tomato, melon and watermelon varieties in south-east Queensland over 2 years (2011/12 and 2012/13) clearly demonstrated the value of running local variety trials before committing to the large-scale import of seed of new fruit and vegetable varieties. Around 40% of imported melon varieties were not resistant to local races of powdery and downy mildew diseases. A number of other watermelon, melon and tomato varieties proved to be poorly adapted to the new environment here and so were less productive than expected. At the same time, several bite-sized grape tomato varieties of varying shapes and colours were well adapted and productive. The trials also included novel fruit types new to the Australian market: – Small ‘icebox’ watermelons easier to fit into the family refrigerator; – Delicious yellow-fleshed watermelons; – Sweet honeydew melons with crisp white or orange flesh; and – Green-fleshed rockmelons with earlier and more reliable flavour development and longer-lasting in storage.