[NAFEX] growing in clay and unsweet fall melons
alandhaigh at gmail.com
Wed May 21 16:55:04 EDT 2008
If I can't make a given soil work in my business I loose a customer.
Although my business is regional I have the opportunity to observe many
different soil types every season. On my bedroom floor right now there's
probably dirt from at least 30 different sites, but I guess I should leave
my personal habits out of this.
Anyway, when I talked about growing in clay before I suggested incorporating
generous quantities of compost (50% by volume in top 6-8" of soil) topped
with mulch. Several others have suggested the same but of even greater
importance in my experience is creating raised beds which was part of my
A raised bed physically changes the soil into a more aerated medium. The
old French intensive garden technique was to raise the beds without walls
such as cedar planks to create a continuing landslide affect as the beds
gradually erode. I remember long ago reading about a French horticulturist
who observed the rapid growth of shrubs and trees in landslide areas and
created the technique or at least the theory for the technique.
On the other subject of melons lacking sweetness in fall, I have often
observed that the last of my summer squash is always the sweetest and I've
long assumed that the cooler nights reduced nocturnal respiration which
reduces vegetative growth thereby increasing carbohydrate storage in the
fruit. Unfortunately I've forgotten more about horticulture than I know and
I can't remember if this was something I read or a personal creative leap.
I find the contradiction here to other peoples experience with melons to be
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