Watermelon is the most common fruit in Taiwan, and it is the most popular especially in the hot summer. People in Hengchun Peninsula plant watermelon seedlings in August and September every year, and they harvest and market the watermelons from December till next January. To whom the winter watermelons are going to be sold?
Farmers in Hengchun Peninsula harvest the only winter watermelon in Taiwan during winter, which could be entirely attributed to the downhill wind. The roots of watermelon are delicate, they are resistant to dryness but not humidity.
In addition to choosing a well-drained, deep, but soft soil for planting, watermelon is also afraid of dew.
When the strong downhill wind blows to the peninsula and subsequently results in absence of dew, watermelon gains a good growth environment.
This Sichongxi area farmer sells watermelons right from his truck
When the watermelon is almost ripe and the downhill wind is stronger, the melon leaves are blown to dry; the melon vines are also somewhat damaged. The watermelon feels that its life is threatened, and it will concentrate all the strength in making itself big and sweet, to enrich the maturation of seeds.
It is the best to cultivate the watermelon at sandy soil.
It is the best to cultivate the watermelon at sandy soil; the coastal dune land, the sandbar at the riverbank and riverbed as well as the sandy laterite layer are quite suitable for cultivation. The land near the Baisha Qiongma factory, which is a coastal duneland, has become the southernmost watermelon field in Taiwan.
The winter watermelon produced there is also the earliest, which can be marketed in early December every year.
Places for watermelon plantation in Hengchun Peninsula also include the area around Taiping Ding and Tougou.
Many plantations that now are planting watermelons, before were the fields where sisal hemp was planted at the heydays of the sisal hemp industry in Taiwan. There is a great place to see such a place in Manzhou, called Sisal Factory Ruins.
The laterite layer there is sandy which is conducive to drainage. The west tableland, which is low at the east and high at the west, is facing the downhill wind; with the obvious wind damage, the watermelons planted there are particularly sweet. Besides, when going further to north somewhere near the hot spring village of Checheng Township, farmers plant watermelons at the alluvial plain beside Sichongxi.
It coincides the time when the watermelons of Baisha are sold out, and hence the turn of Sichongxi’s watermelons to be marketed.
Winter in the north central part of Taiwan is extremely cold, and market of watermelon will not be too good. For a normal person, the bought watermelons are mainly constituted of the small one. Nonetheless, the watermelons planted at Baisha, Sichongxi, and other places are Fubao No. 2 Large Watermelon which could have individual weight of up to about fifteen to twenty catties.
One of the very popular drinks in Kenting Night Market – watermelon milk stand
On the one hand, because they have strong and exuberant vitality, good fruit-bearing capacity, and better disease resistance; moreover, because normal consumers rarely buy watermelon during winter, the main sales channels of the watermelons are restaurants, KTⅤ, etc. Even, watermelons are mainly supplied to special industries.
Hence, the planted watermelons are those large ones which are suitable for cutting into the plates in a table setting.