In late 1994 1 moved Western Polyacrylamide Inc. back to the 80-acre Ozark Mountain farm in NE Oklahoma where I was raised. In early 1995 we began construction of 12 experimental no-till/no-irrigate Hydrosource/Sunbelt beds totalling 12,000 sq. ft. (1080 m2). Initially I had planned to construct about 30% of the experimental beds as no-till, but the rocky ground in Rattlesnake Hollow quickly persuaded me to construct all 12 beds in the no-till version.

The most dramatic results were from a 15' X 25' (4.5m X 7.5m) cantaloupe bed constructed by smashing down 6'-7 (1.8--2.1m) tall Johnson grass (Sorghum halepense) and covering the bulky, downed grass with Sunbelt. We constructed this no-till bed in only 40 minutes and left it with 21 growing cantaloupe plants grown in the Booth Planting Tubes. This bed was planted on 15 July 1995, about 75 days after the last freeze here, but the 21 plants yielded 31 mature cantaloupes prior to the first killing frost on 23 September 1995. The following five sequence photographs show progress from the 15 July bed construction and planting to the 23 September 1995 killing frost:

(Footnote: This no-till cantaloupe bed over Johnson grass was the subject of a 3 September 1995, Joplin Globe article by Farm Editor Mike Surbrugg entitled "Garden Sans Weeds or Water, Less Work".)

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Copyright 1995 by Daniel J. Wofford, Jr, and Dale Greenwood.