What’s in your garden? Watermelon

Candice Magill grew this 30 pound watermelon in her garden in Green Bank. The watermelon was cut Sunday, and fed six households. C. Magill photo

Candice Magill
Contributing Writer

I grew a 19.5 inch, 30-pound watermelon this year in my garden in Green Bank.

It all began with a plant I purchased at Crazy Harry’s in Elkins. I love melons, they are a treat. I also eat organic as much as possible, so growing my own watermelon was the ideal way to get an organic melon with no pesticides or herbicides in it. I took my little plants out to my raised bed, planted them, and watered them daily until they took off on their own with a good root system. After that, I watered them every few days then back to every time I mowed the lawn. On lawn mowing day, I would start by turning the sprinkler on the raised beds then I would mow while it watered things. The silly thing just kept growing, and as it got bigger, it took on a life of its own, and soon I was anxious about it getting ready for harvest.

It was heavy and all I had was bathroom scales, so I took them out on the porch and put the watermelon on the scale, and it hit 30 pounds.

We cut it Sunday, and it fed six households.

So much for thinking you can’t grow melons here in Pocahontas County.

Commercial growers instruct that when the tendril opposite the stem dries up, it is ready to pick. So every few days I would check the tendril, and then I forgot. But last week when I mowed the lawn, I checked it again, and the tendril was dry, so I picked it. Carrying it up to the porch I thought I would drop it. A melon that big is pretty awkward, at least it was for me.

My friend, June Jonese, and I had a lot of fun oooing and ahhhing over the silly thing and laughing when we tried to chisel through that rind.

I’d like to learn a little more about raising watermelons to be ready to try again next year. Most melons I have purchased were smooth. But mine had ridges and was sort of bumpy on the outside. The rind was pretty thick, too.

It was ripe enough to eat, but, in retrospect, it may have had a deeper flavor if I would have waited another week or 10 days. Still, it was sweet, with a good flavor.

It was fun to grow and, if nothing else, it proved you can grow nice size watermelons here.

You never know until you try.

more recommended stories