Well, I've about talked myself into putting in a melon patch this year. I have the sandy soil that melons love, and I love melons, so why not? Of course, I'd like to try my hand at having a few to sell. I have discovered that my cantaloupes and Israeli melons need rows spaced four to five feet apart, and spacing in the rows between 18" and 24". That means my main patch will contain five to seven 100 ft rows, which gives me between 250 and 400 plants. Assuming 60% or more of them survive and produce two viable fruits each I'll have between 300 and 480 melons to eat or sell. Of course I could have a bumper crop of 800 melons, or a total loss due to drought, poor farming, or whatever. I want to do this in three plantings, about two weeks apart, so that I can have a little time to sell each batch of melons. I have three wild hives of bees on my place, so hopefully that will boost pollination, and all my numbers here will turn out to be low. But first I have to get the melon patch cleared out. I have to move/spread out this pile with my little toy 18 HP tractor. Will be doing that tomorrow. Here is another area that will be put into melons, but probably watermelons The rest of my garden will be going into this area. I am going to be contrary and trellis my tomatoes on the _south_ side of the garden, so that part of the garden will be in shade in the afternoon. Our summers are so hot, that I think shading a tiny part of the garden will be less harmful than letting the garden have what the garden books call "full sun." Now to the figures (just for the melon patch.) Seeds: $12 Fertilizer @ 120lbs per acre: $30 Irrigation pipe and soaker hose: $250 But, spread that cost over three years: $85 Water @ 2000 gallons a month $45 (just to keep things from burning up) etc (everything goes wrong fund) $100 Total: $272 That does not include the cost of diesel to cultivate, but since my tractor only uses 5 gallons of diesel per day of hard, hard work, I'll eat the cost for the sake of fun. Of course this total does not include the cost of marketing the melons either. The figures look like I might break even to even making a few hundred dollars profit. The money is not that important too me at this point, but if it does turn into a money maker, I may expand a little next year. Since the rows have to be so wide, I think I may experiment with sowing some black eyed peas between the rows, just to see how it works. If it works then, the peas will put some N into the soil, and help crowd out weeds to a very some extent, if it does not work, well, I like eating peas too. Of course, I'm also on the verge of getting pigs again as well, so I guess if I can't sell the melons I'll have happy pigs!