Early Watermelon Transplants
Have you ever wondered where those early May and June watermelons come from? Believe it or not they start in flats like this. They actually grow transplants of these little melons and produce a little plug, such as you see here, which will go in the field.
Of course they just don't throw this little plant in the field, they make a nice warm bed for it because it's cold at this time of the year. First thing they do is put black plastic mulch down over the bed that they're going to plant it in, punch holes in this black plastic, and then they plant it in there; give it a little home. Black plastic warms the soil, the watermelon or cantaloupe, or whatever grows, and sooner or later you have early maturing cantaloupe or watermelon.
Now obviously this costs a little bit extra money. So when you pay a little bit more in May and June you'll know where it comes from. Not only do they have this plastic over the beds but they've also got drip irrigation, which puts just the amount of water on the cantaloupe and watermelon when it needs it so that it grows optimum.
So, this is the way that the early varieties or early watermelons are produced in this area of Texas and it sure is worth waiting for. It cost a lot of money to produce them, but it sure is worth it in the long run.
This is Jerry Parsons, Vegetable Specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Weekend Gardener.
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