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Saltwater Melons

By Rick Gush, Urban Farm contributor

melon

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Melons are other crops that are sometimes deliberately stressed with saltwater at the end of the fruit-production cycle in order to encourage the plant to produce sweeter fruit.

  • Conventional growers withhold water during fruit development to create the beneficial stress that produces sweeter melons.
  • The production of more sugars in stressed plant cells is a natural reaction, because stress will remind a plant of its own mortality and urge the plant to produce materials that will increase the chances of success for the next generation.
  • Stressed melon plants will push more sugars into the developing fruits because this will give the seeds in the fruit a better chance of being eaten by animals and dispersed appropriately for future germination.
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