Watermelons and the rice field

Watermelons and the rice field

How does a watermelon like this one end up on the rice field?  

Instead of growing rice year-round like typical rice farms, our farmer friends grow rice only from around May to December, which leaves about 4-5 months of land with no rice. It’s a dry season with not much water available to use for growing crops. What do you do? Grown watermelons.

To our surprise, this big juicy fruit grows well in the dry season and doesn’t require a lot of water! (the variety that our farmers use, at least) So, it has become one of the crops in our farmers’ crop rotations schedule. Other crops on the menu are garlic, chili, roselle, broccoli, cabbage, and so many more native greens that we don’t know how to translate their names into English 😅 

 The missing plant in the middle at the bottom row is due to hungry us making a vegetable stir fry out of it.

But why wouldn’t you just grow rice the whole year? Like us, the microbes in the soil need a variety of food (i.e., plants) to thrive and contribute different nutrients to the soil. Different crop roots also build good soil structures. Pests can’t make permanent homes in the soil either since when the next season comes around, their favorite crop (says rice) is gone, and now they have to put up with the unappetizing watermelon. It’s bad news for the pests but good news for the land and the crops.

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