Poplarville man grows huge watermelon
Published 7:00 am Friday, July 15, 2016
Along the side of the road in the middle of Poplarville, Obrien Hodge and his grandson Cameron Hodge have been showing off the fruits of their labor this summer, watermelons weighing in at more than 100 pounds.
His largest melon weighed in at 138 pounds, according to the scale at the local feed store, Obrien Hodge said.
He also harvested a 109-pound melon, with several other large ones still growing in the patch at his home.
Obrien Hodge said he plans to bring his largest melon to a watermelon festival in Mize, Miss. to compete against other watermelon growers in the area on Saturday. There, he hopes to win first place, which will enable the grower to sell their winning melon to the local fire department for about $50.
“We’re going to go up there and see if we can compete with the Smith County boys,” Obrien Hodge said.
This will be the first year he has entered a watermelon competition.
He grew the huge watermelons on his property, located just outside of Poplarville. Obrien Hodge said he started growing them about three years ago when he retired from the construction business.
“It’s just something to do. There’s not a lot of money in it,” Obrien Hodge said.
Last year the largest melon he grew was about 117 pounds, which he sold along with two smaller melons for about $100.
His grandson helped him grow the crop this year. Cameron Hodge said he helped with fertilizing and tending to the melons, which gave him something to do during his summer vacation from school.
Obrien Hodge feels his melons could have been bigger this season, had the area received more rain.
He grows his Carolina Cross melons from seeds he purchases from a catalog.
After germinating the seeds in pots, he transplants them in his field until they produce fruit big enough to harvest.
“It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy doing it,” Obrien Hodge said.