April 9, 2010

My darling nephew Daniel, who is 5-1/2 years old, wants a vegetable garden very, very much. My brother and his wife live on a heavily shaded lot that is practically a forest preserve. Trillium grows wild in their backyard, but anything that needs any sun, even grass, does not grow. The leaves that fall in the, well, fall cover the ground by nearly a foot. It’s almost impossible for Rich to keep up with the raking and hauling. So given those conditions, there is zero chance of a garden for Daniel.

On Saturday, Julie and I talked about my garden and I mentioned that I was planning a vegetable garden this year. Her face lit up anxiously and she asked, “Can Danny help you with that? He has been dying for a garden.” Seeing as I love projects like that, love the idea of bonding with my nephew and just love him anyway, my answer was an easy yes.

So we started talking to him about what he’d like to see in this garden. I mentioned green beans and got a headshake. Carrots, still a head shake. Peas, peppers and pumpkins all brought the same negative reaction. So I asked “Well, Danny, what DO you want?” He answered, “Watermelon.” Hmmm, I thought. Watermelon. how interesting. Never tried that before. That would be a very sweet treat for us and a fun plant to watch grow. I pictured vines and blossoms and little green orbs, ripening into thumping globes – yummm.

Then I got home to do some investigating about growing watermelons. Do you know that, other than something truly tropical, the child picked the one harvest plant that has almost no chance of doing well in Zone 5? It needs a long growing season (not us), sandy soil (not us) and no critter disturbance (most certainly not ME – Damn Rabbits.) On Sunday, I showed him the outline of where the garden will be (pending Uncle Tony’s long-awaited approval – sigh…..) and tried to talk him out of watermelon. No go. Danny is determined to have watermelon, so I am determined to meet this challenge.

I found out Sunrise (aka Nirvana) stocks Sugarbaby seedlings, so I will give it a shot! In one way, I’m truly excited to see if we can make this happen. In another way, I’m hoping Danny isn’t too disappointed with green beans.


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