August 5th, 2012 by Marc Opperman
Yesterday I removed a few mostly-dead tomato plants, cleared some withering cantaloupe vines, and whacked back some of the growth that came after our amazing July rains. But now it’s on to the very oven-esque part of a typical Texas summer.
I had a really good cantaloupe yield this season. I harvested eight fully-developed melons. While none of them quite blew me away with their taste, a few were quite serviceable. And since I know how they were grown, I will automatically state they were better than store-bought melons. They were the last food crop I was awaiting in the yard from the Summer garden.
A couple developed strangely – oblong like watermelon. But they were clearly like the more traditional cantaloupe on the inside. Still another couple did odd things shortly after they were picked – they fermented. One even went so far as to start “peeing” liquid through a pinprick-sized hole. Luckily I caught it doing this. It would have been a mess otherwise. I assume the melon started decomposing a bit and internal pressure needed to equalize. It went straight to the compost pile, a meal for the raccoon family.
Speaking of the raccoon family, they completely destroyed my small fountain attempting to get at the lower reservoir. Poor things were so desperate for water, they ripped out and broke a lot of metal screen and dumped glass beads everywhere. I decided to leave it apart for the rest of the summer, pending whatever I do with regard to staying in this house.
For the same reason – my future here is highly uncertain – I am not planting a Fall garden. And that makes me really sad. In fact, I’ve largely stopped viewing the garden as an asset and place of tranquility, and more of a liability… something that needs far more work than I am able or willing to give it. Hard to invest in it now that I am merely a renter in this space. I long ago made the resolution that I would not improve rented spaces beyond what I could do for free and with little effort. Landlords have always proven too mercurial in what they’ll accept for me to do much more.
And that puts the future of this blog in flux, too. I’ll either shut it down when I leave this garden space, or convert it to express my environmentally-based volunteer work and Master Naturalist experience. I suspect the latter, though it would probably make more sense to start a new site for that. We’ll see.
But to end on a positive note for now, I have now seen two zebra longwing butterflies (Heliconius charithonia) in the yard. I’ve never seen them here before. Though, it makes sense. They consider passiflora incarnata a host plant, and mine is doing better than it ever has.
Since I count in large part the success of my gardening efforts by what new species of animals I see here, I’ll take this as a small win.