JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Melons from the garden

Last year, I grew - without any real effort on my part - a mountain of different squashes. They looked wonderful, I thought they were delicious, but the rest of the family quickly got bored of eating them. So this year, I thought I'd try to grow melons as well. I stuck a few seeds in some compost and put the pots on my study windowsill, and after a week or two I planted them out (probably April and May). I watered them a couple of times and then left them to it - it's a sunny bed, and we have heavy clay soil which retains moisture in that part of the garden, so things have to take their chances. I read an article about growing melons, describing horrendous amounts of work building a frame, pinching them out and tying them in. I ignored it. The melons rampaged over the bed, trailing in and out of the squashes, and over the lawn, an untidy but pretty promise of good things to come.

On Sunday, for lunch, we ate the first of them, as they are only just ripening. What's more, we ate them in the garden, even though it was the first day of October.

They were delicious, sweet, and contrasted wonderfully with the Parma ham. I'm definitely growing them again next year; I'm going to use the same method, only this time, I'm going to grow more, and I might put some in the greenhouse, which usually only houses tomatoes in the summer (although something tells me they'll be more trouble in a greenhouse, and I don't have much experience of growing things under cover). I'm sure that I would have got more melons if I'd done all the things suggested in the article, but about 25 from three plants isn't bad, especially for about 10 minutes' effort.

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