I’ve posted before about my struggle to grow decent watermelons. The climate here is all wrong for them: too dry, nights are too cool even in summer, temps go up and down, etc. Sometimes the seeds refuse to sprout at all, or they sprout and then fall prey to some pest or malady, or they manage to make it to maturity but can’t manage to produce any fruit worth harvesting.
I keep trying, though. My love of watermelons and my intrinsically optimistic nature win out every spring against the hard, comfortless voice of experience.
This hasn’t been a great year for my garden anyway. A cold spring, followed by a long blistering-hot stretch of summer, stressed out almost everything I planted. Plus I’ve been so busy with other stuff that my garden hasn’t gotten anywhere near the amount of loving care I usually lavish on it. The weeds are tall, the corn is sickly, the tomatoes are cracked from inconsistent watering, zucchini production has all but stopped because I didn’t keep all the young zukes picked…let’s just say it’s not my garden’s best year ever.
But! Do you know what I have LOTS of?
I have VOLUNTEER watermelon plants coming up all over the place. I have watermelons in my zucchini bed, watermelons in my asparagus patch, I have watermelons in areas where NOTHING was planted. There are vines everywhere, with baby watermelons adorning them like happy…little…baby watermelons. I am too flummoxed to think of clever analogies.
So apparently watermelons thrive on COLD SPELLS and ERRATIC TEMPERATURE CHANGES and WEEDS and NEGLECT, and do not care at all for tender nurturing attention or specially prepared beds. They also prefer to spring into existence on their own rather than to grow from lovingly selected and painstakingly planted seeds.
I’m beginning to wonder why I bother to read all those how-to-grow-stuff articles. Mother Nature is clearly too capricious, too whimsical to be swayed by such mundane matters as soil and location and weather.
I’m beginning to love that about her.