The Cantaloupe! A Love story. - Capital Area Food Bank
Skip to main content

The Cantaloupe! A Love story.

By Nancy E. Roman September 14, 2016

While my garden thrives with tomatoes, kale, cucumbers, broccoli, zucchini, peppers, and more over the course of a gardening season, I am known as a killer of melons. I have never managed to bring one to fruit, though certainly not for lack of trying.
The vine often takes off, and usually even flowers.
But when the small sweet fuzzies that are supposed to eventually turn into fruit begin to appear, they invariably either rot, are pecked by a bird, or just give up the ghost for no apparent reason.
So when Amanda Marino, who oversees the Capital Area Food Bank’s Urban Demonstration Garden, approached with a little cantaloupe seedling and a big smile, I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I would likely kill it. I thanked her, took it, and tucked it into a patch of the red-clay dirt of my garden between a rose and tomato plant. I surrounded it with a bit of compost and hoped for the best. That was in early July.
I watered it as I watered the other plants, and tried not to get emotionally attached when those first little fuzzies appeared. By the end of the month, the fuzz had dropped and it actually looked like a small fruit, but still, I kept my emotional distance. When I left for a vacation Aug. 2, though, it was hard not to have hope…
I was delighted when my daughter, who returned home before me, texted a picture: “Mom, what is this green thing?”
Then the worry became: when to pick the precious fruit? I watched a video online. I talked to Amanda, who said to look for crisping tendrils. I fretted.
Finally, on Saturday, I plucked it. And it was delicious!
And there are more!
A small garden miracle that started from one tiny Capital Area Food Bank seedling.