• 54°

Atwell man grows a 144-pound watermelon

By Mark Wineka
mwineka@salisburypost.com
ATWELL TOWNSHIP — Buddy Edwards, a well-known produce man in these parts, planted his watermelon patch April 13, and he took great care to fertilize and water the Carolina Cross seeds.
Once the melons started to appear, Edwards covered some of the bigger ones with bags or mesh, so they wouldn’t blister in the sun. His version of sunblock, if you will.
A few weeks ago, Edwards realized his patch was growing a whopper, the biggest watermelon he had ever produced. He knew he wouldn’t be able to pick it up when it was ready, so last Thursday he gave that honor to young Justin Waller.
“He’s stout, like I used to be,” Edwards says.
As he hauled it up toward the house, Waller guessed the melon weighed 130 pounds. But when they put it on the scales, it came in at 144 pounds — the size of a healthy middle-schooler.
“I just had a green thumb with that one,” Edwards concluded. “That would make a nice fruit basket, wouldn’t it? But it would cost too much to fill it up.”
Edwards has a notion to enter his watermelon in the contest sponsored by Goodman Farm Supply in China Grove. He says this melon is in the class of those grown in the past by Homer Overcash.
Hearing Sunday that Edwards had a 144-pounder, Overcash was impressed.
“He might want to enter that thing,” Overcash said. “I think there’s a $100 prize.”
Back in 2007, Overcash grew a watermelon that weighed 170 pounds — out of the same variety of seeds. It was on display for three weeks at Goodman Farm Supply and then for a week at the Rowan County Fair, where it won all the prizes.
“And it was good, too,” Overcash says of the big watermelon’s flavor.
The crazy thing about 2007, Overcash says, was that he had 13 watermelons that year coming in at 150 pounds or more. “They were huge,” he recalls.
Overcash didn’t plant any watermelons this year, after he had problems last year with coyotes. Yes, coyotes like watermelon.
Edwards, who lives off Wright Road, says he also had issues with coyotes in years past, but it has helped having his patch closer to the house this season where a German shepherd dog keeps watch.
“Coyotes are bad just to rake over the top of them,” Edwards says, adding they always seem to go after the ripe ones, too.
Edwards’ 144-pound watermelon grew for 98 days. It was the lone melon on its vine, and Edwards says his only secret was good fertilizer and lots of water.
He had another melon that came in at 114 pounds, among several in the patch that were more than 100 pounds.
Edwards definitely plans to save the seed from the big one, hoping he will catch some magic again.
Edwards lives in the house he was born in 73 years ago. He has 40-plus acres, but leases a good portion of the land for soybeans. For his produce stand, he grows mostly sweet potatoes, green beans, okra and watermelon.
Most Saturdays you can find him set up at the Winecoff Road farmers market, and regular customers know to stop in at his house for produce, too.
“I’m here most of the time,” he says. “I like it. It keeps me going.”
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

Comments

Comments closed.

Business

With remote expansion, outsource provider FCR looks to become an ‘exceptional part’ of Rowan community

Local

City expects $1.5 million surplus in current budget, ability to raise some wages for police, public works

Education

Enochville Elementary to host farewell event May 1

College

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson will speak at NC State graduation

High School

High school softball: Carson beats West in a wild one

High School

Wonders, Trojans facing off Monday on Cannon Ballers’ field

Local

City approves two apartment developments, more than 160 new units

Nation/World

Crowds react with joy, wariness to verdict in Floyd’s death

News

Bill seeks to end pistol purchase permits from NC sheriffs

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees 300th death attributed to COVID-19

News

Chauvin convicted on all counts in George Floyd’s death

Local

Top North Carolina House finance chair, Rowan representative stripped of position

Crime

One charged, another hospitalized in fight between cousins

Local

Bell Tower Green renamed to honor Stanbacks; Nancy Stanback receives key to city

Business

Commissioners green light additional houses at Cherry Treesort in China Grove

Education

A.L. Brown will hold in-person, outdoor graduation

Local

Granite Quarry awards FEMA contract for Granite Lake Park

Local

City to vote on apartment developments, final phases of Grants Creek Greenway project

High School

High school football: North receiver McArthur a rising star

Columnists

Carl Blankenship: Pollen and prejudice make their return

News

Harris pitches $2.3T spending plan on trip to North Carolina

Nation/World

Murder case against ex-cop in Floyd’s death goes to the jury

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Man takes deputies on chase with stolen moped

Coronavirus

Afternoon, evening COVID-19 vaccination clinic planned Thursday