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We just finished planting year two of our melon patch! Last year’s patch was experimental and about seeing what would grow out here in our little part of the Hill Country. This year, we expanded the patch fivefold by planting sixty, 100 foot rows (a full mile of melons) of cantaloupe and watermelon.

Two-thirds of the patch was planted with Passport, Scrumptious, Sugar Queen Hybrid, Super 45 Hybrid, Charentais, and Israel (Ha’ogen) cantaloupe. One-third of the patch was planted with watermelon varieties including Diablo Hybrid, Legacy and Truck Buster (our early favorite based on the name alone).

We also seeded the patch with a cocktail of white proso millet and flowers. The flowers are a variety called Alyssum — Carpet of Snow, which is a companion plant to cantaloupe and watermelon, will provide ground cover for the melons to rest.

In order for the melons to grow hearty rinds, we enriched the soil with a healthy dose of phosphorus, a nutrient commonly found in traditional fertilizers but also exists naturally in other sources. Instead of using fertilizer, we opted for the more natural approach by using bone dust (or bone meal).

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Here’s a note from Farmer Peppy on the use of bone meal:

“Over the years my interest has evolved from feeding humans, to simply feeding the soil. I seek natural elements to put back into our Earth, which ultimately will sustain all life upon it. In this case, it is bone and melon flesh. Death and life are congruous. They both depend on each other for their existence.“

Even if our whole crop does well, we won’t be harvesting it all. We plan on leaving one-fifth of the crop behind in the Earth, so that it returns nutrients to the soil and creates healthy humus for future crops. In true Farmer Peppy fashion, he’s selected Friday, July 13th to massacre the melons left behind!

“Hopefully all goes well and on Friday the 13th, we will all be smashing down some melons together for the good of future crops! Or potentially this makes some kind of zombie crop which takes over the world, which would be super metal so I am onboard with that as well!”

If the melon patch goes well, we’ll have more info in the future on our Friday the 13th Melon Massacre. We’re also very excited that this could be the first year we get to brew beer with fruit grown on our farm! This is something we’ve been aspiring to do for a long time and would represent a major milestone along our path to becoming as authentic a farmhouse brewery as possible.

This spring, we welcome you to come check out the melon patch, vineyard, hop yard and herd of goats by joining us for a free farm tour led by Farmer Peppy on Saturdays at 2pm!

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