Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Two-Bite Watermelon

While most of the country was having the hottest summer on record, here in Portland, we were having the coldest summer in 17 years. Back in April, I planted melons hoping that the summer would be warm enough for them to grow. It wasn't.

My tomatoes also suffered. It was the perfect temperature to inspire the green leaves and vines to grow, but the tomatoes are just now starting to come on. Unfortunately, my huge tomato bush has toppled over despite my staking and the use of a heavy duty tomato cage (now reduced to a ball of twisted metal thanks to the monstrous plant). The tomatoes that are finally ripening are doing so under cover and I often don't find them until it's too late and they've already gone bad.

Green beans should have been a slam dunk, but they weren't. And it was totally my fault. I was the daughter of a seed salesman. Seeds were a big part of our family. From a young age, I planted seeds, worked with seeds, packaged seeds and even harvested seeds. So it was natural for me to want to save my Blue Lake green bean seeds year after year. I was saving maybe $2 on a packet of seed, but was pretty proud of my self-sufficiency.

It was my understanding that open pollinated or non-hybridized seeds, like Blue Lake green beans could have seed saved and used from year. What I learned this year, unfortunately, was that every few years, you have to bring back the new seed. Maybe Blue Lakes are a hybrid variety of green bean--I don't know. But the beans I got this year from my saved seed (which was from the previous years saved seed, which was from the previous years saved seed, etc.) were awful: fibrous, tough and completely unpalatable. The whole crop was lost.

So I didn't make any salsa fresca this year. I didn't freeze a year's worth of green beans. I didn't harvest any melons--well, not any that were edible anyway. Sometimes that's just the way it goes. Which is why I think being a farmer for a living must be the most stressful job ever.

Good thing the grocery store is right down the street.


I-Shüan Warr said...

I think those tiny watermelons could catch on!

Did you know that every seedless grape plant came from a cut of the same vine that just accidentally had no seeds one time? I always wondered about that!

Emily Laing said...


shiguy4076 said...

that is the saddest and cutest watermelon all at the same time.