Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A Home-grown Melon


I didn't really hold out much hope when I planted some melon seeds early in the year. With many of the more exotic crops, the seed companies are always promoting varieties which they claim will ripen in this country. This melon goes one step further with claims that it will ripen outside "in a good summer".
I plumped for the polytunnel and was quite honestly astonished when, a few weeks back, I peered through the developing jungle and spotted a fairly well developed melon hanging over the edge of an old tyre. (I plant some crops in old tyres so that I can target feed and water more effectively. I think the black rubber helps to warm the soil too.)

This last weekend I noticed a couple of flies hovering around my melon and guessed this was a sign that my fruit had actually ripened. The sweet, honey-like aroma confirmed this. I plucked it from its vine and proudly carried it into the house, whereupon I took a large, sharp knife and ceremoniously sliced it in half.

I was just in time as the melon was beautifully ripe. You can't get a melon like this in the shops. They are picked and stored under-ripe and, as with so much other fruit and veg, remain under-ripe. If you dare wait for them to properly ripen, you open the fridge one day, or look in the fruit bowl to find something which has magically overnight gone completely furry or rotten.

I think we'll only get one melon from this year's plant, though another plant looks like it will yield another melon. I won't hold my breath for the couple I planted outside.

It's only a very small contribution to our diet, but a very special one indeed.

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