Retiree grows 32kg winter melon in Bukit Batok community garden; surpasses last Nov's record of 25kg

Mr Huang Guanghui grew the winter melon in a community garden in Bukit Batok. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

SINGAPORE - A 73-year-old retiree has successfully harvested a 32kg winter melon, which is roughly the weight of an average six-year-old, in a community garden near his Bukit Batok home.

This has surpassed the current record of 25kg - or about 10 times the size of a regular winter melon - at last November's Community Garden Edibles Competition.

The man, who gave his name as Huang Guanghui, told Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Wanbao in an interview published on Sunday (Jan 21) that he grew up in a kampung, and would often observe his father, a vegetable farmer, at work.

His love for vegetables blossomed and he later became a vegetable seller, retiring only at age 60.

Six years ago, he joined the community garden near his block in Bukit Batok Street 31, where he cultivated a variety of vegetables, such as green beans and chye sim.

In September last year, he became interested in planting winter melon and sowed his first few seeds.

Over the next few months, he watched as the plant grew steadily, before finally bearing fruit.

He said that he never expected the winter melon to weigh more than 30kg.

He added: "I used chicken manure and fertilisers regularly, and also took great care of the plant by watering it when there was no rain."

When asked if he had a special method for growing winter melon plants, he told Shin Min that as the plant started bearing fruit, he would remove those that were growing too slowly, so that the nutrients would be channelled to the remaining ones.

He said: "I was finally left with three winter melons. I removed one of them after it turned bad and I harvested the second one at 19kg, after it became ripe last week."

He said that if the timing was right and if he was given the opportunity, he hoped to participate in the Community Garden Edibles Competition in the future.

Mr Huang also thanked his neighbours, who he said had also taken great care of his winter melon plant.

He later sliced the gigantic winter melon and shared the fruit - and the joy - with them.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.