Thursday, February 16, 2006

Getting Ready For Melons

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bed
time









Our county is a major melon producer and each melon farmer gambles on getting the melon crop in as early as possible in the season. If you have a good crop early, you will enjoy premium prices for your fruit. A delay of even a few weeks can allow other farmers a little farther north to dilute the melon market so much that it's literally not worth it to harvest. At that point melons are left to rot.

I posted this field earlier.

Since then the field has been neatly plowed, rowed, probably fertilized, and plastic mulch has been laid down. The mulch will warm the soil since this will be an early planting. It will also hold soil moisture and reduce some of the fungi disease problems we have.

Surprisingly, one of the watermelon pests is the coyote. They will roam the field, taking bites out of random melons.

Melons are planted as young transplants, one day the black plastic is vacant and waiting, the next day it's dotted with tiny green plants.

I'll try to post a shot once in a while as this field metamorphoses.

15 comments:

Wayne said...

I alway like having some melons in the garden, but didn't know about the coyotes. That's bad news!

Rurality said...

I had just read that about coyotes recently. Apparently they will do the same thing to corn crops.

Seriously, they'd leave the melons to rot?! Chickens everywhere are stunned... (They love melons.)

Hick said...

One more reason not to like coyotes. Reminds me of people that see a See's Candy box and pinch the bottoms of the candy to see what kind it is and if they don't like it they put it back in the box for someone else to eat...of course, nobody eats a pinched piece of candy...unless they are really in a chocolate frenzy...okay, so maybe I've eaten pinched chocolate once or twice...but I've never pinched it. I'm with Gump..."you never know what you're going to get"...unless it's pinched.

Boy...talk about getting off topic. I'm going to go find some chocolate.

I like melon, too.

Heh! (She says with a red face and walking away.)

roger said...

a large part of coyotes diet is fruit in the summer. we find coyote scat full of cherry pits. in california cows get the excess melons.

i thought all see's candy had holes in the bottoms till i saw some my grandma hadn't gotten to first.

are the transplants put in the field by machine? how many topics can i cover in a short comment?

Rexroth's Daughter said...

Looking forward to the appearance of those green shoots. It'll transform that field into something that looks like spring.

The MacBean Gene said...

They grow a lot of pumpkins (and cabbage)up here. I noticed a lot of pumkins left in the field to rot and I guess you just explained why. Do those wiley coyotes eat pumkins?
Pinched or unpinched, boxers or briefs, the great questions of the 21st century.

Floridacracker said...

Wayne,
The powdery mildew usually gets mine before any coyote.

Rurality,
I am thrilled that chickens are reading my blog. I like a varied audience. :) Actually one of our community food banks will gleam left over melons from the fields for needy folks.

Hick,
What in the world is See's Candy? Am I alone in my ignorance?

DPR,
The transplanting...hmmm...it used to involve a tractor making and covering the holes, but a farm hand rode on the device and dropped in plants. I bet it is more automated now. I need to find out.

RD,
What really looks like spring now are the rye fields which are a brilliant green amidst the winter brown.

Mac,
It's probably the same reason. Pumpkins here ripen so far ahead of Halloween that you still have to buy a northern pumpkin to make a JackOLantern.

pablo said...

You're a special guy, as you'll find out tomorrow!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Too bad you don't have more Panthers; then you would have fewer coyotes. So it goes...

benning said...

Maybe melon growers should work out some sort of arrangement with the cattlefolk to provide excess melons for feed? Would that even work?

Never knew that about coyotes! I like the critters, but we have definitely made them into pests. I actually saw one, early one morning, daintily crossing the RR tracks through downtown Largo! This was not too long ago. Largo is just south of Clearwater, north of St. Petersburg on the Pinellas peninsula. It ain't like we have a huge population of wild animals here.

A nifty morning, indeed! LOL

benning said...

cracker, See's is a brand of chocolates not unlike Whitman's. Less expensive, but I used to like them. ; )

doubleknot said...

Please keep the pictures of the watermelon field coming - you can hardly find anything growing around here anymore.
Nice info on the coyote - knew they were fruit eaters but didn't realise they would go into a field - duh. We have coyotes right here in the midst of city living - once in a while I will see one while driving down the road but more often they are road kill along side the road.

Floridacracker said...

Pablo,
I knew it, I knew I must be special somehow...

Hoss,
Our panthers are increasing so maybe...

Benning,
Thanks for the candy tip. Now I know.

Doubleknot,
I'll keep it posted.

Hick said...

What? You guys don't have Sees? Where on earth do you live? I thought I lived out in the sticks...what?...oh...never mind...Uber-husband tells me that Sees Candy is regional...it's good candy, though...

heh! (Walks away red faced yet again by her emotional outbursts.)

Floridacracker said...

Hick,
It's okay to be emotional about chocolate.