I started “organic” gardening last year. I figured if I was going to put in the effort to grow food, I might as well make it as healthy as possible, and using alternatives to pesticides is easy on a scale as small as mine. I’d love to be able to say that I spent the previous winter reading everything I could put my hands on about organic gardening, and that I did extensive research about what to plant and where. I can’t; I’m a trial-and-error girl. Lucky for me, gardening is a forgiving hobby, and my tomato plants were still setting blossoms when the frost killed them.
At the end of last season, I pulled up my plants, laid them out in my raised bed, and covered them with dirt rather than tossing them all in the compost bin. (That’s called sheet composting, if anyone cares.) This spring, as soon as the ground thawed, the tomatoes started sprouting. Apparently, cherry and roma tomatoes are tenacious little buggers! The strong ones were moved to the center of my raised bed to be trained up the trellis. I gave a few away. The rest, I’m afraid, were weeded out. I couple weeks later, I noticed leaves coming out of my compost bin. I tried to find where they were coming from; I thought they were zucchini, and I was going to transplant them, but I couldn’t find the base of the plant, so I just let them stay where they were and didn’t think too much more about them until the leaves started getting bigger and bigger. The other day, Vicky pointed out the flowers, and that’s when I remembered the watermelon I composted last summer. Here’s what I’ve got:
Sorry for the lousy quality; my camera is a piece of crap, and the close-ups of the flowers looked like something by Andy Warhol in a drunken stupor. There are four flowers now, and a few more buds. Everyone I’ve told has asked if the melons will be safe to eat. Since there is nothing toxic in the compost, I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t be. Now that I think about it, it’s good that I didn’t transplant them because the spot in the raised bed would have been WAY too small for a watermelon. I’d need the whole raised bed for that, whereas zucchini can be done in a large pot.
The garden hasn’t been all easy-peasy this year. I had terrible luck with herbs; the only ones that came up were the sage, chocolate mint and cilantro that self-seeded last year. Everything I planted, with the exception of some borage, failed, and I had to go buy basil, lemon balm and mint plants. Can’t win them all, I guess. Maybe next year I’ll sheet compost the herbs where I want them to grow, and start a few inside for good measure.