JACKSON COUNTY--The hot and dry weather continues across region 8 this week. One region 8 produce farmer says that people buy a lot of watermelons during this kind of weather and he has some big ones that can fill your order. Harold Webb has grown some monster watermelons this year. They are from the variety known as Carolina Cross.
Says Webb, "All I did was plant the seed and the Good Lord took care of the rest and they got big!" Webb has watermelons at his stand right now that weigh 134 and 130 pounds. Webb also has approximately 10 more in the pasture that big.
The Carolina Cross watermelons are hybrids meant to yield big results and they aren't the only big melons on his farm. The other varieties he grows have gotten bigger than normal this summer. Webb attributes it to the rainfall Swifton has recived this year.
The rain helped tremendously, but the late freeze over Easter did slow the growth of his crop at first. He planted this crop the third day of April. Usually they come up within ten days but this year it took three weeks. Webb even ordered more seed because he didn't think they planted seed would make it!
The plants didn't slow too much and have produced some of the best vines Webb has seen in the last several years. The Carolina Cross variety is helping one of Webb's wishes come true. "I've always wanted to raise a great big one! Out here at this watermelon stand, if you've got a big one it stops the traffic."
Mr. Webb says his watermelons are some of the best around and could give Cave City and Hope watermelons a run for their money. Watermelons actually get sweeter as they get bigger, and Webb Farms definitely has some yummy mammoths.
Webb has a few tips for the backyard gardener that just might help grow a good one. The ground needs to be pretty rich in order to grow good watermelons. Chemicals and pesticides cannot be used, so "You have to have a pretty sharp hoe to keep the weeds hoed down pretty good!" Webb also reccomends to not put fertilizer right next to the seed. Scatter it out, instead. The fertilizer can actually burn the seed, stopping its germination.