How Joseph Lofthouse is Helping Me Grow Watermelons – Guest Post by Ezekiel Good
Have you ever planted watermelons before? What was the method that you used? Did you get a good yield? Do you want to breed your own watermelons that are consistently easy to grow? Let me introduce to you the way I, Ezekiel, son of David The Good, now grow watermelons.
The concept of Landrace Gardening
I wasn’t exactly sure what to think when my dad handed me Landrace Gardening to read.
I looked at the glossy cover. “Joseph Lofthouse?” I read. “Never heard of him, what is the book about?”
“Just read it, I think you’ll like it.”
“Okay.” I said, and I meant it.
Landrace Gardening encourages gardeners to breed and save seeds from their favorite plants, gleefully mixing seed lines and heirlooms and letting genetics fall where they may. If a plant in your garden is liable to pest problems, diseases, or has any personally unfavorable attributes, you cull it instantly without saving seeds. Every year you save seeds from this wide mix to plant in the next year, eventually acclimating plants to your climate and soil and creating your own landrace varieties.
What Lofthouse says about land-racing watermelons
If the watermelons you are raising don’t ripen properly, are dwarfed, or if there is one watermelon on the plant that has blossom end rot, cull the entire plant, and don’t save its seeds. You want strong genetics.
I have grown watermelons for multiple years, but the way I had been doing it was by buying watermelon seeds every year and planting them, and then saving a few seeds from the last year’s melons. What Lofthouse says to do is to save more seeds from year to year and to breed plants together until they are used to your climate and soil.
How Lofthouse changed my way of thinking about it
The idea of landrace gardening watermelons was a game changer. If I could just buy a bunch of watermelon seeds with tendencies that I liked, and then breed them together into a land-race watermelon, I could grow the best watermelon for our area by selecting the strongest and best from a wide range of parents. Before, I would baby my watermelon plants and rely on heirlooms and hybrids from the store. Now we’re letting nature select for us. If you follow along and try creating your own landrace watermelons, I am sure that your watermelons will be the best for your area as well.
If you ever get tired of regular gardening methods, or you’re interested in land-racing watermelons, (or anything) get Joseph Lofthouse’s book. It challenged and inspired me, and I hope it will do the same for you.
Landrace Gardening is the reason that I saved a bunch of watermelon seeds from last year, stocked up on other watermelon seeds that have likable features, and borrowed a few acres of land from the neighbors. And that’s it! Now all that has to happen is for them to breed together for a few years, and bang! You have a landrace watermelon.
The 2022 Landrace Watermelon Project Begins
This week we’ll be working on preparing our multi-acre watermelon plot. Stay tuned to see how we plant.
To learn more about Joseph Lofthouse and his plant breeding work, and to get his book directly (instead of through Amazon), visit his website here.
‘“Okay.” I said, and I meant it.’ Best line.
As your looking for super melons, what (if any) kind of care are you planning to do after planting?
Since you get to decide what direction the genetics take, what do you look for in the perfect melon?
And I realize you’ve still got some time to think it over, but will you name your perfect melons? E-Z-E’s almost sells itself.
Very impressive bit of work there, Mr. Good (the younger).
I will probably only water them like three or four times, so that the vines that survive will have the best genetics.
My ideal melon is large and sweet, also I would prefer it to have a thick rind, so that it would be more disease resistant and easier to ship.
I might just name it “Ezekiel’s Landrace Watermelon.” I am also going to try and sell the seeds once they are fully Landraced.