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Watermelons need sunscreen, too!

August 5, 2015
A green tractor harvests crops.

We all know that before braving the Georgia summer heat, it’s essential to slather on the sunscreen. But did you know that we’re not the only ones who get our SPF protection?

Watermelons in Georgia had a rough start to their season. With really high temperatures during the first week of June, the fruit had a difficult time recovering from the usual wear and tear on their vines that occur during harvest. It was because of this June heat wave that farmers had to come up with a new solution to provide protection from the intense sun: sunscreen! Kind of. Let’s take a closer look at what that means.

Dr. Tim Coolong, Associate Professor of Horticulture at the University of Georgia gave us some insight regarding the protective formula that was put on the watermelons.

“Generally these products are made from calcium carbonate, kaolin clay, or in some cases natural waxes, although those made from calcium carbonate dominate the market,” he said. Another way farmers provide sun protection is by growing a very strong vine that will, in turn, provide some helpful shade for the watermelons, but this usually isn’t quite enough. Thus, the sunscreen!

To learn more about the growing process for commercial watermelons, check out this handy guide from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Next time you enjoy a slice of this iconic summer fruit, just think: it might have enjoyed the Georgia sun covered in sunscreen just like you!

About the Author

A Georgia native, Rachael Wheeler works as a Blogger for GeorgiaGov. She writes about a variety of current topics relevant to the Georgia government.

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