Watermelon growth has been hard

Published 4:48 am Saturday, June 30, 2018

Dear Editor,

Friends have been wondering, as I have also, why our melon crop this year has been catching hold so slowly.

Apparently, something has happened in our climate, and in our solid’s reaction to the climate, that has diminished the setting of melons on the vines, and also the ripening of those that do set.

Small things can make a difference. For instance, tomatoes require a minute amount of arsenic to ripen, and I hear reports that they are not ripening as well as usual. It may be that the flooding of 2016 and 2017 leached that minor element out of the ground. In 2017, the Ruston peach crop failed because the preceding winter was too warm to allow the dormancy necessary for peach trees to produce.

At any event, those of us who enjoy raising this local crop are doing about the best we can — my partner and I should normally be pulling 100 melons per day, but this year we’re only getting enough to cut some for grandchildren, church groups, etc.

Melon fields in Smith County and other areas of south Mississippi are producing bountifully, and I highly recommend them to local markets.

As farmers always say, next year will be better!

John N. Gallaspy