The First Eggplant Harvest & Growing Seedless Watermelons

Village Farm Team,

The past few weeks we’ve been working hard at planting cooler weather crops and maintaining the warmer weather crops we have in the ground. A large portion of our okra plants have formed blooms and are days away from opening. They really thrive in our warm summer temperatures! Though it seems like we just got them in the ground, we’ll be harvesting the first of our eggplant this weekend. Our Bastan peppers are swiftly growing so we hope to have the first harvest of those in the next couple of weeks. As for our newly seeded crops like chard and green beans, we’re starting to see the first signs of germination.

We decided to plant another patch of watermelons since we still have plenty of warm days ahead of us. This time we decided to experiment with a growing a seedless variety. Growing seedless watermelons is an interesting process as you can’t collect the seeds from a seedless fruit. In order to grow them, the number of chromosomes found in a normal watermelon plant must be doubled through a chemical process using colchicine. When you double the chromosomes in a normal (diploid) watermelon, the result is a tetraploid version of the plant or one that contains four sets of chromosomes. When the tetraploid watermelon is pollinated by a normal diploid one, the resulting seed produces a triploid plant. This triploid plant is likened to a "mule" of the plant kingdom, and as such produces a seedless watermelon. We were able to plant both types of watermelon seeds this past week and thanks to the rain we’re already starting to see germination.

Our flock has been enjoying the fans we installed to help keep them cool and reduce their stress level. In addition to cool breezes from the fan we’ve been supplementing their diet with dried meal worms to increase their protein intake. Meal worms are nearly fifty percent protein by weight and not only benefit our girls, but their eggs, too! Since incorporating this protein-rich treat into their diet we’ve noticed an overall higher quality egg with a thicker and darker yolk.

Our high summer hiatus from the veggie wagon will end with the Labor Day Market this holiday weekend. We’ll have our first harvest of eggplant along with chives and herbs like sage, Mexican oregano, and African blue basil. We highly recommend roasting the eggplant and drizzling it with a chunky herb pesto.

Happy Harvesting,

The Agmenity Farm Team

Words & Photos by Courtney West

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