Saturday, August 21, 2010

2010 Watermelon Harvest

The watermelon harvest has begun with these first 16 watermelons picked.  The light green melons on the right side of the photo are Charleston Gray watermelons.  The ones on the left are a little harder to identify.  The striped spherical watermelon is Crimson Sweet.  The other four striped melons might be some sort of Jubilee watermelon.  I have a jar of saved watermelon seeds that I usually plant one hill of.  It is sort of my mystery melon to grow.

These watermelons were grown in Hodgenville, Kentucky and were harvested August 21, 2010.  I estimate the gross weight at 390 pounds [177 kg] (the largest striped melon is 37 pounds while the largest 3 light green melons weigh 40-41 pounds a piece).  Not sure what makes produce organic but no pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers were used to grow this crop.  The weeds were pretty bad this year probably because I did not use a tiller on the garden this year and the black plastic is getting old.

The pumpkin plants produced one small pumpkin but the plants appear to be dying (too much heat?) and the cantaloupe plants did not produce this year.

Growing watermelons is an enjoyable hobby for me that I have now been active in for at least 7 years.  So I felt like sort of farming dinosaur after reading the New York Times article "Watermelons Get Small" by Kim Severson on August 17, 2010.  It talks about trends in watermelon farming in Hope, Arkansas. The movement to grow icebox size seedless melons has caught on in the United States with the article stating that 2 out every 10 melons grown have seeds.  Of that seeded variety, a small percentage are heirloom like I grow.  The Arkansas old time melons mentioned are Jubilee, Black Diamond, Rattlesnake, and Charleston Gray.  The newer seeded hybrid being grown is called Super Sweet 710.

The largest striped melon has been cut and its fruit placed in plastic containers to be refrigerated.  The seeds have been saved and the juice collected to make watermelon lemonade.  Sweet!