Thursday, October 20, 2005

~It Must Have Been the Spit~

Written by:
Harriette Jacobs
South of the Gnat Line

For as long as I can remember I have loved to garden. This is not to say that I have braggin’ rites to a green thumb, though some gardening years have been pretty bountiful, I would lean more towards my thumbs having shades of green moments.

While we have had our fair share of success with tomatoes, lettuces, peppers, squash and a few others, I will admit, I have never had success growing any cantaloupes, pumpkins or watermelons; not ‘til just recently.

I was really excited when we tilled our newly relocated garden spot earlier this spring after having cleared the final few pine seedlings from the area I had been eyeing. We all took turns with the tiller, added some compost matter here and there and tilled some more. I had an “official map” of the proposed garden and went at it. Our greatest successes were found in our potato patch but with our bizarre May weather this year, our tomatoes did not perform as well as gardening seasons past have proven. Our corn did well, especially with this being our maiden year for it and don’t even ask me about the carrots; I give up on carrots. Period. The End. I did, however, manage to see a couple of “sprouts” begin for my watermelon and cantaloupe attempts. But to no avail, there would be little evidence of fruit forthcoming.

The summer months were upon us in no time and the Fourth of July arrived with no evidence of home grown melons, leaving us with no other option but to buy a “store bought” watermelon. Oh the agony of failure. It just didn’t seem right to be eating store-bought but we just had to eat melon on the 4th of July……..that being a Southern law and all. The boys loved eating it out on the front porch which naturally led to their competing with seed spittin’. Clearly, this would later prove a worthy warm up for when we would later attend the local Watermelon Festival when the boys won the seed spittin’ contest and relay races………….

A couple of more weeks passed and I discovered that, low and behold, we had watermelon vines sprouting all along the front of our front porch. I, of course, thought this was hilarious and declared we would leave them to grow as they pleased.

Time passed, the vines grew, the vines bloomed, the bees buzzed, the butterflies fluttered and then there was fruit! We had 4 watermelons growing about the size of softballs. I was convinced they would never grow, since it was already August and fall was just around the corner, but I decided to leave them alone just a bit longer.

August proved to be our driest month of the summer and we were losing shrubs including our new magnolia tree we had planted in June; I doubted the watermelon would make it another week at best.

Well they grew a little more. And then a little more.

Our homeschooling year began, fall baseball began, our pond project began, LIFE was going on and I hadn’t thought much about the melon patch thriving along the front veranda ~ ‘til last Thursday. I announced it was time to clean out all the vines and “that mess” and just toss those melons that have stopped growing into the compost; after all, the largest of the fruit that was growing was smaller than a basketball even though it was genuine watermelon shaped. I would have bet the farm they were all just green on the inside.

My oldest son was all involved in pulling up the vines and loading the wheel barrow when he decided to cut open the largest melon. Miracle Grow couldn’t boast claims to a better watermelon! He bolted into the house shoutin’ out his discovery. I could not believe it. How many years have I tried to grow watermelon and NEVER had one vine to bear fruit……………never.

We have eaten the absolute best tasting watermelon all weekend. Who knew? must have been the spit.