SELECT healthy soil bathed in the sun and at least 50 centimetres deep.

Make sure there is nothing overhead and no trees nearby competing for nutrients.

Fertilise and weed the area before planting.

Dig the hole 10 centimetres deeper than required and put some manure in first, cover with soil and then plant.

''Fertilise with a handful of manure for each plant every three to four weeks,'' Mr Haddad said. ''And make sure the watering is constant.''

Erratic watering would rot the fruit, he said.

The amateur gardener could stick a finger into the ground to see if it was damp and, if it was, the plant did not need more water. Sagging leaves could mean the plant is either thirsty or over-watered.

''When watering, avoid splashing water hitting the ground and splashing the foliage,'' Mr Haddad said. ''This develops fungus.''

Gardeners should also beware of sucking beetles in January and be sure to pick the beetles off early to keep their numbers down.