[Market-farming] Moving the Melon Patch

Bill Shoemaker wshoemak at inil.com
Wed Jul 20 09:00:47 EDT 2005

I've watched a lot of old-time watermelon growers harvest. They just place
their feet carefully, select fruit and cut them. They then pass them along
to a wagon in an alley, hopefully not too far away. Yes, some vines get
damaged but good harvesters minimize losses. And the plants seem to be able
to recover if there's enough season. Most will pick through a field for
about 3 weeks then move on to another one. I think most of them feel there's
a limit to how much you can avoid stepping on plant material because they
can only afford so much labor for harvesting. They need to get in, pick, and
get out as quickly as they can.

Bill Shoemaker, Sr Research Specialist - Food Crops
University of Illinois - St Charles Horticulture Research Center

>I also have a melon question.  We have the most abundant crop of
>we have ever had.  The vines are very tall and has consumed every square
>inch of the patch.  We have melons that should be ready in the next couple
>of weeks and then there are tons of new ones still making.  How do we go
>about harvesting this jungle of melons without doing extensive damage to
>smaller melons and vines? Any ideas?

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