There are some jobs that are best left to professionals. Plumbing. Aircraft maintenance. And, I’m convinced, melon growing.
Every spring, we’ve planted one kind of melon or another, but in a lottery-ticket spirit. We don’t really expect any melons but, hey, you never know.
Really, though, we did know. We weren’t going to get any melons. It’s Cape Cod. It’s cold and it’s damp at the best of times, and our garden is right in the path of the breeze coming off the lake – which means our micro-climate is even colder and damper. These are not melon-growing conditions.
But everything changed when we built the hoophouse. Suddenly, we had heat. On an eighty-degree day, it’s over 100 in there. Walk inside, and it’s like another climate. A tropical climate. The kind of climate where they grow … melons!
So, this spring, when we planted watermelons and cantaloupes, we did it with intent.
The watermelons never got momentum, but a couple of the cantaloupe vines grew, flowered, and then developed several actual, genuine cantaloupes. A few withered once they got to be the size of baseballs, but two hung in there. Two actual, genuine cantaloupes.
We watered. We watched. We waited. And then, yesterday, we harvested.
The melon was just a little overripe – I’d been away, and Kevin wanted to wait for me. But, other than one little soft spot, it was firm and juicy and that soft orange color that cantaloupes are supposed to be.
With some trepidation, we tasted it.
I hadn’t known it was possible for a melon to taste like nothing. Although it had a perfectly nice texture, it had no flavor at all. No sweetness, no musk, no nothing. It was like what jicama would taste like, if it were a melon. We gave some of it to the chickens and the rest to the pigs, but even the animals couldn’t muster much enthusiasm.
Here’s the thing, though. Next spring, you’ll find us planting melons again. A different variety maybe. And we’ll water and watch and wait just like we did this year. I mean, hey, you never know.
Now you’ll have to excuse me – I’ve got a sink to fix.