05 March 2014

A Watermelon's Trials

 Watermelon Sprout

Dear Watermelon Sprout,

You may be wondering why we made you stay cooped up in the dark for two days straight, no sunshine allowed.  This morning when I opened your cutworm-collared cage to the sky, you blinked back at me, all white and yellow, crying for the lack of light.

Thing is, you were just born the other day, little guy!  On that day when the air stayed warm and welcoming, just how you like it, all the way up at 89 degrees Fahrenheit, and there was no way for you to know by the next morning you might be dead from stormy cold if we didn't take drastic measures to save your life before it dropped those 52 degrees and stayed there hour after hour after hour.

We had to put you in that dark prison, little one, because we loved you, and we wanted you to live to see the summer.

We got covered up, too, with some heavy clouds, the kind even the South Texas sun doesn't break through easily.  So it didn't, and it hasn't.  That old sun who has been around thousands of years gave that floating sky water a turn to cover up the firmament.

And it stayed cold {relatively speaking} those two days straight.


Don't even go peeking over there at the basil plants, still looking green after their days in the dark, wishing you could be more like them instead of like your little yellow self.  You aren't old enough to know they've lost more leaves than you've ever had in unexpected cold snaps, only growing back to this size after some serious pruning and a lot of days above 80.  

If they're still green now, it's because they had more oil in their lamps (so to speak) before the dark storm hit.

It might be tempting to feel jealous of them, to beat yourself up for not being as prepared as they were.  But don't be.  It wouldn't be fair to expect the same from you as from plants months older than you are.  Fact is, you'll get green so fast that by the time you're putting out thirty-pound watermelons in a few months, you won't even remember those two dark days.

Brussels Sprouts

You might have noticed the Brussels Sprouts plant over there, his huge leaves basking in the cool of the morning.  You might be a little upset to know he didn't get smothered in darkness at all the last few days.

But you know what?  By next week when you're a little older and the weather is a little hotter, I'll let you look over his way again.  You'll see Mr. Brussels Sprouts wilting in the mid-day heat.  I'm not going to cover him up then, either, even though he might wish I would.  

You and I will both know he'll perk right back up again overnight, night by night, yet only time will tell if the heat will be too much for him this spring and keep him from putting out a crop after all.  

You'd best not be jealous of him, either.


Now, see those little okra starts over in the corner by the gate?  They're only a couple of weeks old.  It seems they made it through the cold snap without issues, and we can both be glad.  We had to protect them just like we protected you, but they made it out the other side alive and green.  That's the kind of strength you'll have soon, too.  

So keep your chin up, little watermelon, and don't get distracted comparing yourself to the other plants or being jealous of them, even if they sometimes seem a little greener and stronger than you are.  They'll face their own battles, and chances are, you wouldn't trade places with them given an educated choice.

Just grow in your own dirt, trust your gardeners to water and feed you when you need it, and focus on putting out the best watermelons a gardener could ask for.  You'd make terrible pesto, but you'll do a great job making watermelons if you stick with it, to be the best you can be.

With love,
Your Gardeners

P.S.  In case you're wondering why you have to have that ugly cutworm collar at your base?  Don't ask.  Cutworms are the stuff of nightmares.  When you're old enough, we'll take away the collar, I promise.


  1. What a great post. I needed to read it today. I needed to be reminded that the Gardener knows best and that it is best to trust Him. Thanks ~ Lisa :O)

  2. That's the cutest thing ever!! And what are cutworms? Do the collars really protect the baby plants? I hope we'll have more energy this year to have a bigger/better garden... sigh...

  3. What an ADORABLE post!! :)


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