In August friends from Germany were visiting. They duly admired the huge red and orange bell peppers in my garden but what they marveled about most were the sweet juicy cantaloupes. In Germany, summers are often so chilly and sun-less that not even the tomatoes turn fully red, let alone crops like melons can be successfully grown.
After many years in the United Stated I had almost forgotten how astounded I was myself seeing a fig tree in the middle of New York City, and realizing that melons that taste and smell like melons are grown locally. Through my friends I appreciated anew our consistently warm to hot summers. Sure, as gardeners we battle against pests, droughts, floods and winter damage, and the recent change of the USDA hardiness zones due to global warming is worrisome. Yet this is a great climate for gardening, and I wish more people would do it.
Yesterday I harvested my one and only watermelon. It owes its existence entirely to a feeling of frustration. In early June, I picked up a couple of plants on my third trip to the nursery to replace the cantaloupe seedlings that had been devoured by the striped cucumber beetle.
Small as it is, the watermelon still makes me gleeful. It is too special for eating the whole thing so I set aside some to make watermelon vodka for the first time. It will be the perfect drink for toasting the garden long after I will have put it to rest for winter.
8 thoughts on “Another sweet reason to garden”
Not all the german summers are chilly, I remember the one of 1994 when I was working in a small town in eastern Westphalia. Apart from tomatoes there was a melon plant growing on excavated earth belonging to my working area. I passed every day by watching it growing and at least ripening. My colleagues and me decided to harvest our melon the following morning but someone stole it the night before. So unfortunately I will never know if I could have melons in Westphalia! (The tomatoes were rather good)
True, I did not mean to generalize, there are hot summers in Germany, and hot pockets such as Bergstraße. – Having your precious fruit stolen by a human is worse than by an animal!
Danke! Sehr Gute Blog!
I managed to grow two watermelons this summer. The first I harvested too early and it wasn’t ripe :(. The second one is still on the vine. I am so afraid to make the same mistake twice! Here’s to small successes in the world of growing your own.
Yes it happened to me too that I harvested a watermelon too early, there is no sure way of telling whether it is ripe. When I saw scratch marks on the melon yesterday I decided to harvest it and take the before the groundhog or raccoon would do more damage.
Maybe they can smell that it is ripe and were trying to get at it….Yours looks perfect!
Thanks. And very good point! I had not thought of that. The whatever-eats-our-pears also stole almost all of the pears again when they were still hard but once I rescued those that were left, they were soft and ripe within a day.