The First Melons Spotted & Preparing for Egg Hatching
Village Farm Team,
Last week our Sugar Baby watermelons were shooting out their first vines and this week each plant has several blooms on it! We even discovered the very first baby watermelon which has the whole team giddy. Our cantaloupes are also producing lots of blooms and we’ve got a few baby melons among them as well. Did you know that what we commonly call cantaloupe in the United States is actually a muskmelon (Cucumis melo reticulatus)? Muskmelons have that characteristic webby looking or reticulated outer skin while cantaloupe (Cucumis melo cantalupensis) have smoother and harder light green skin. Overall muskmelons tend to be easier to grow and have a much stronger flavor than cantaloupe.
Now that the soil has had a chance to dry out from the recent rains, we’ll be working on preparing the last of our flat ground beds for okra. We’ll be seeding both Cow Horn and Stewart Zeebest varieties. A unique characteristic of theses varieties is their ability to remain tender and non-fibrous as the pods reach upwards of seven to ten inches in length. Okra, sometimes referred to as “ladies’ fingers”, is a member of the mallow family. The blossoms are rather beautiful and look reminiscent of hibiscus, another member of the mallow family.
Since the temperatures are already nearing 100 degrees, we’re taking even more measures to ensure the comfort of our farm animals for the remainder of the summer. We’ll be increasing their available shade and mixing up our own “Gatorade” with water, sugar, salt, and baking soda for the chickens to help replenish their electrolytes. And, to help reduce internal body heat, we’ll be cutting back on the scratch we feed them since it produces more heat in the body during the digestive process.
We’re less than a week away from meeting our chicks! They have four days left in the incubator before they begin to hatch. On Saturday when there are three days left, the incubator will go on lockdown to ensure adequate moisture levels for hatching. Once the chicks hatch, we will be taking each one out as the feathers dry. All of our chicks will spend 2 to 3 weeks in the brooder before setting up residence in their brand new “chicken chateau”.
The Agmenity Farm Team
Words & Photos by Courtney West