melon, hugelkultur, May garden status.

We planted all the squash and melon on Mother’s Day because that’s when the locals say to put seeds in the ground. I’d already greedily filled most of the hugelkultur plots with tomatoes and peppers, cabbage and broccoli.

My mounded hugelkulturs have sort of leveled out after a couple months and I think that’s okay. Before I began the mounding, something like back in February, I laid down cardboard to choke out the grass (a no-till approach). It seems to have composted well. There are worms everywhere and I drove in a stake which had no problem sinking down a foot and a half.

The rest of the garden we spread out dirt for sweet corn and made hills for melons, pumpkin, and squash. (The seedless watermelon packet held exactly three seeds, to which Joe commented, “some smart aleck packaged that.”)

When we lived in Denver, Jubal was flying his drone in the city park and accidentally sent it into a private backyard that backed up to the park. I dreaded going to the front door and asking to search for it, but it was part of a school project, so we crossed our fingers and rang the doorbell. A really sweet college girl named Stephanie opened the door and graciously led us into the backyard.
There was a koi pond and tennis courts and overgrown/underattended shrubs and paths. No sight of the drone. Stephanie suggested it could have landed in the koi pond (no worries–the koi had all died the previous spring during an unexpected hard freeze. Side story: Stephanie’s dad had put baby koi in the pond when she was born, so they died at the ripe old age of 20!). We were about to dejectedly walk away when I spied a small garage with a door cracked open. A wonderful, indescribable aroma floated from therein.

I’m not usually nosy, but I think I must’ve asked, “what’s in there?” and she showed us.
Her dad had fled Vietnam during the Cambodia-Vietnam conflict, settled in the United States with the help of extended family, worked to learn English and became a doctor. He had no hobbies, Stephanie explained, except one.
The garage was filled with tropical flowers, a veritable jungle of hibiscus, orchids, and gorgeous exotic blooms I’d never seen before.

“This is what he does for his hobby. It reminds him of home,” Stephanie said. I was blown away. This wasn’t a greenhouse–it was a small, unattached garage-style building equipped with grow lights. But it rivaled any butterfly center or botanic gardens I’d ever visited. And the good doctor was tending it for his own enjoyment.

As we departed, I noticed some trellising on the side of the building. There were panels affixed to stakes and paneling across the top. Long, bumpy vegetables hung from the top.
“Bitter melon,” Stephanie said.

I don’t know where to even buy bitter melon seed (probably Baker Creek sells it, but I’m not finding it in Lowe’s or Walmart for sure). I also highly doubt anyone at my house would eat it. But my aim is to trellis my own melons like Stephanie’s dad did in Denver.
And to care for a garden as fervently as he secretly and joyously tended his hibiscus.

May 17th garden.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s