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My Square Watermelon Journey

I believe it was in 2003 when I first read about Japanese farmers growing square watermelons commercially. It was a sensation and the news was all over the place – in newspapers, radio, and the internet.

Over the next two years the thought occasionally entered my mind about how they could take a naturally round watermelon and make a square watermelon out of it . It was not a burning curiosity but, rather, I was amused by the thought of turning a watermelon square.

 

Then in 2005 after planting tomatoes and watermelon in a small backyard garden, I decided to take the challenge to produce my own square watermelon. I knew I could do it and was convinced that it was going to be a lot of fun.

Square Watermelon Dive

In the garden I’m a doer – as Nike’s slogan goes…Just Do It!  I took action not knowing what the outcome would be. The process itself of making a square watermelon is as important as the outcome, I thought.

In this home garden I planted a few tomato and watermelon plants. They were plants that I bought from a local general hardware store (it’s amazing how just about all types of retail outlets get involved with gardening at springtime.)

In my research I learned that the Icebox variety of watermelon of watermelon was one of a few that fitted the local Canadian climate – we have a short growing season and limited strong sunlight intensity. I prepared the soil (elevating beds to give better water drainage) and planted the newly-bought watermelon plants.

The Miracle of Seeing the Watermelon Plant Grow and Flower


 As expected, they grew very well and I kept a close eye to be sure they remained healthy. It was not too long before my attention paid off with flowers, then baby fruits.

Growing things and nurturing them have always interested me. Although I have done it many, many times before, planting, and watching fruits appear and then mature is like a miracle happening before my eyes. I could literally spend hours in a garden observing plants, flowers, the fruits, and even the insects which are all part of the dynamics of nature and local ecosystem.

Producing a Square Watermelon Requires Creativity and Innovation

As the fruits were forming, the creative part of me started kicking in, allowing me to come up with different ideas of how I may be able to make them square. That is, how I may imitate the Japanese farmers, the true square watermelon experts, using a humble home garden budget.
 
I experimented using different materials – from transparent plexiglass and solid opaque plastic, to corrugated plastic and wood.

I tried to get info from research centers where I thought they were experimenting on growing square watermelons. One such place was the agricultural center of Mississippi State University . This was the article that led me to growing square watermelons in North America.


Despite my attempt to get specific information – writing to the horticulturalist at the university, the watermelon promotion board searching the world wide web, and many other places, I was not able to learn how it was actually done, expect that a “box” was used to turn the watermelon square.


I was a little frustrated but I also accepted the fact that this was part of the challenge of producing my own prized square watermelon.