Here at NGA, we're always reminding gardeners, when using any pesticide, fertilizer, or garden chemical, to always read and follow the instructions and precautions on the label exactly. The experience of some farmers in China recently is a good example of why this is so important -- and a pretty weird example of what can go wrong if you don't!
Watermelons grown in eastern China began exploding in the fields after farmers, in an attempt to increase their profits, applied a growth accelerator call forchlorfenuron. But they put it on too late in the season and when the weather was too wet. This caused pressure to build up internally in the watermelons and they literally blew themselves up in the fields. Some farmers saw their entire crop lying in shattered ruins.
While this highlights the increasing problem in China of farmers using improperly applied or illegal substances on their food crops, it also brings home the need to always pay careful attention to label instructions, restrictions, and precautions when using any garden chemicals. Even those products listed as suitable for organic gardening, such as plant-based pesticides or copper fungicides, need to be applied in accordance with the label to be safe and effective.
To read more about this explosive situation, go to: Exploding Watermelons.