What wondrous life is this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine;
The nectarine, and curious peach,
Into my hands themselves do reach;
Stumbling on melons, as I pass,
Ensnared with flowers, I fall on grass.
"The Garden" Andrew Marvell, 1681
In the foreground are the melons and the cucumbers. In the mid ground is the bed which housed the potatoes (now waiting to be harvested). In the background is the rampant, volunteer (as in, not planted but just arrived from the soil) pumpkin. There are also two trellises in this image. Hence the green squares you can see across the vines. The front one has the cucumbers beginning to climb up and the background has beans and that pumpkin.
This was taken at 7:15am this morning and so the early morning sun is just beginning to highlight the pumpkin, while the cucumber and melons are still in shade.
This year I planted three types of watermelons and two types of rockmelons. They went in after the killer 4 day November frost so were saved from the ravages suffered by the tomatoes, beans, pumpkins, corn and potatoes. Growing melons in Canberra can be a bit of trial and error. You need to time it fairly well - after the frosts but not so late that there wont be enough long, warm days to ripen the melons. So far we've already eaten three rockmelons. And I tell you what..you must eat one of these rockmelons. You haven't really lived if the only rockmelon you've ever eaten was bought at Woolies. An organic rockmelon smells unbelievably fragrant. The smells leap up from the ground and pull your nose into the vine. Honestly. Then when you cut it open, it's dripping.
How's this little beauty? He's called a Moon and Stars watermelon. See how his skin is a greeny blue and he's got yellow spots - they're the stars. There is a big yellow spot on the underside which is the Moon. I'd show you but I've become a bit protective of him. The kids and I have turned him over a number of times to watch the moon grow but I'm becoming concerned that we'll accidentally detach him. He's my biggest. Not enormous but kind of handsome.With the rockmelons it is quite straightforward when they are ready. The outside becomes yellowish and that fragrance of melon tells you to pick and eat. I'm just watching and waiting on this one.
So this is today's harvest. I dug some yellow fleshed waxy potatoes. They're the ones that look like eggs. There are also 4 rockmelons - small but you know the drill...fragrant. Tomatoes and one small zucchini. The large zucchinis I fed to the chooks. Zucchinis are so fussy. If you ignore them they have a tantrum and swell up into enraged and hardened blimps. Thankfully we have chooks so I don't agonise about it. When we were new to our community vegie plot and I was very conscientious about eating everything I grew I used to stress about zucchinis. Sad, I know. I would take these elongated marrows home and stuff them with mince or cut them into stews. I no longer do this. As part of our natural diversification we acquired chooks and so they get all my overabundance. I see it as part of the natural recycling of resources. They "way too many cucumbers" "why did I ever plant 10 plants???" and the engorged zucchinis and the rotten tomatoes and the strawberries the snails got started on before I arrived to harvest, all of these carbon/nitrogen mixes are tossed into nature's recyclers. They love tomatoes and strawberries best. Next the bugs on the crucifers, then the green stuff. Sounds like my children's preferences as well. Only kidding, they wont eat tomatoes. Anyway, enjoy the melons and stay off the grass.