This summer, I tried my hand at planting watermelon, a fruit that has never been one of my usual homestead staples of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and green beans. My goal was to produce a green and white speckled watermelon as sweet as the ones grown in my childhood, complete with hundreds of black seeds and succulent juice pouring down my chin.
Well, somehow it wasn't meant to be. I planted my vine in May, what seemed to be prime planting season. The leafy stalks grew and grew until August, when I witnessed my first flower. The flowers never really did take but eventually I found myself with a few fertilized flowers and a few watermelon babies that slowly grew and grew until either rot got to them or they fell from the vine.
This past weekend my husband who hates farm chores dug up the green leafy vine (I had let my chickens feast on the leaves earlier). There wasn't any ripe fruit and I considered my farming experiment a failure. As I looked at our lot and contemplated trimming my overgrown sage, I saw IT tucked in the sage -- a beautiful, round globe gleaming with fullness. Could it be, a beautiful sweet melon brimming with juice?
Today, I shared my success with our neighbors and the children that make our block a community. It wasn't the watermelon that reminded me of my youth on Mansfield Ave. but it was good, and it was tasty and homegrown. I might try my hand at growing another one next year but with one change: I'm going to let Joe decide if this is THE watermelon of his childhood. You know, the one that tastes as sweet as honey, with juices dripping down your chin.