Melons & Tomatoes & Squashes, Oh My!
Village Farm Team,
Despite the mud, wind, and chilly temperatures, we had several volunteers show up last Sunday on Earth Day to help us plant seeds! With their help the team was able to plant all of the watermelon and cantaloupe for the summer. Both types of melons are planted in our flat beds to allow their vines room to spread. Did you know that watermelons and cantaloupes are part of the Cucurbitaceae family? Other members of this botanical family include cucumbers, summer squashes, pumpkins, and loofah. Perhaps that’s the reason why cucumber and melon make such a tasty combination.
Now that our tomatoes are starting to fruit, the team has been installing a trellis system along the rows. The trellises are composed of T-posts and twine and will allow a support system to help the plants grow vertically rather than sprawl out horizontally. Keeping the vines up and off the ground allows for better oxygen flow as well as a reduced susceptibility to soil borne pathogens and fungal diseases. Plus, it will speed up the harvesting process!
Now that the ground has dried up a bit after the storms last weekend, we will be planting summer squashes in our shaped beds on the North Farm. Summer squashes tend to bush out and grow horizontally rather than vertically so these will be planted in our uncovered rows. The furrows in between each bed will also be left uncovered as foliage from the squash and weed growth will help provide beneficial ground cover. Whether it’s in the form of vegetation or materials like our plastic mulch, ground cover helps to control moisture levels and soil temperature as well as preventing erosion.
We’re still harvesting turnips and carrots on the South Farm! Once we come to the end of our harvest in the next few weeks, we’ll be preparing for our next round of planting. Winter squashes will be planted in half of the rows, cover crops will be planted in a quarter of the rows, and sweet potatoes will be planted in the remaining quarter of the rows. These crops will be ready around the time Harvest Fest arrives in November.
The Agmenity Farm Team
Words & Photos by Courtney West