It’s that time of year again – watermelon time! This year I’m going to introduce you to a little bit of watermelon farming, similar to my Cotton Elementary series.
Watermelon season begins with planning several months before the mid-March planting time. There are plant numbers to be nailed down, plastic to be ordered, acreage to be planned, and a whole lot of other things to be done that I have no clue about!
More on the plastic later. I haven’t had a chance to get out to follow the bed knocker (I just like saying that) and plastic layer yet, but I will. Watermelons are grown on beds covered with black plastic. I’ll explain more when I have better pictures!
Watermelons are also transplanted. This means that seeds are planted in a greenhouse, and baby plants are sent to us to put in the ground. When transplanting time comes, we have certain plant delivery dates.
The plants are delivered by semis. We get them styrofoam flats. They are stored in the trailers where they are safe from the wind.
Below are the baby plants in the flats on the trailer. They’re waiting to be transplanted!
The tractor pulls the transplanter over the rows.
The transplanter holds six people. They transplant in three rows at a time, two people per row do the transplanting. The transplanter does not go fast at all.
As the transplanter moves down the row, that big wheel with the spikes punches holes in the plastic. Water also travels down the spike and into the hole at the same time.
This is looking at the spike wheel as it comes towards us. It’s about to punch a hole right there in the shadow. (I’m risking my life for ag education here folks! Nah, not really, this thing moves slooooowly!)
Each pair of transplanters takes turns in removing plants from the flat and putting them into their row where the spike punched a hole.
One guy follows behind the transplanter and adjusts any baby plants that didn’t get placed well. He also swaps out the flats when they are empty.
There is storage on the side of the transplanter so that they have plenty of plants for the round. (A “round” is from one end of the row to the other.)
And there they are – the little watermelons hopefully loving their new homes!
More to come on plastic and watering… and whatever else interesting the may come along! Send me your post requests and ask questions! I’ll do my best to answer – or I’ll ask the experts….