Willow Bark Farm

  (Grand Tower, Illinois)
Farming In Southern Illinois
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Growing Watermelons and Using EM-1

Well it has been awhile since my last blog post. Our summer has been busy planting, watering, weeding and harvesting here on our rural farm.

Southern Illinois has experienced record temperatures this summer along with drought conditions. With farming weather effects every crop that is grown.

This season it took three plantings to get a decent stand of watermelon. The third time is the charm they say. J

This season the varieties that we grew were Sugar Baby, Crimson Sweet, Charleston Gray and Georgia Rattlesnake. These are all heirloom variety watermelons. Ranging in size from small to quite large. Round and oblong in shape. Colors dark green, striped and pale green. Truly a beauty in the garden.

As the heat seemed to dry and scorch every living plant on our farm. Watering was a must. On normal rainfall years watering is usually very minimal. Not this season it has been hot, dry and down right miserable.

As the summer progressed, I was in great doubt that we would have a watermelon crop to harvest. The vines were drying and the blossoms were few. The watermelons were not maturing as I would have liked them to. As each day passed our watermelons that we had worked all season to grow were gradually withering away. Let me tell you, it is disheartening to work so hard only to be left with little or no crop to harvest. This is the way of farming though, some years are very good years while others are just plain terrible.

I decided to try EM-1 Microbial Inoculant on our watermelons. EM is an acronym for Effective Microorganisms. It is a brand name referring to a line of microbial-based products using a technology developed by Japanese scientist Dr. Teruo Higa. EM-1 is a liquid bacterial product made of three groups of bacteria: Yeast, Photosythetic Bacteria, and Lactic Acid Bacteria. EM-1 works together with beneficial microbes in the area to which it is added, creating a synergy among microorganisms and larger forms of life including insects and worms, pets and livestock, and people. It is a wonderful organic product.

At this point in the game of watermelon growing, I figured that I had nothing to lose.

I filled a one quart spray bottle with water and added 1 teaspoon of the EM-1. Let me tell you I spent quite a bit of time in our watermelon patch, making sure that every vine got a drink of the EM-1 solution.

I watched and waited. Within one week the watermelon vines began to show signs of recovering from the intense heat and drought. I was amazed and I couldn’t believe my eyes when our watermelons seemed to flourish and come alive again. It was wonderful to see the vines turn vibrant green and blossoms by the hundreds filled the vines. By the second week many small melons filled the vines. I cannot tell you how happy I was to see those tiny watermelons and lush vines filling up the watermelon patch. With my hope renewed, I knew that we would harvest a watermelon crop. Each and every week the watermelons just kept growing, the vines healthy and trailing and filling the entire growing area.

I harvested the first watermelons this morning. My, my they tasted absolutely delicious. Just the right sweetness, juicy, texture and vibrant color. For those of us that love watermelon, there is nothing that quite compares to a sweet slice of watermelon on a hot summer day.

To learn more about Effective Microorganisms visit the TeraGanix website by using this link http://www.teraganix.com/?Click=2131

They have many wonderful organic products to choose from.

I have included a few photos of our watermelons growing this season.

From our farm to your table, grow watermelons for a sweet slice of garden goodness.

How Sweet It Is!


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