June 22, 2022
The ground in the melon patch is covered with cantaloupe vines. Twice I have seen a rat scurrying for cover under the leaves. Despite many childhood summers on my grandparents’ farm, I find the prospect of being in an enclosed space with rodents a bit off-putting to say the least.
I told my fellow rodent averse gardening friends about it on a recent volunteer workday. Unsurprisingly, no one else was eager to go on cantaloupe duty. We decided that if all six of us went to harvest the cantaloupe at the same time, any creatures would flee.
A couple of us went inside the fenced enclosure to harvest. Others served as melon spotters because the fruit is hard to see amidst the dense leaves. As soon as we picked the cantaloupes we handed them off to someone outside the fence – – a huge help because melons are unwieldy and there was no place to set a basket without crushing the vines.
Working together we quickly harvested 44 pounds of perfectly ripened cantaloupe that we donated to North Dallas Shared Ministries. We also harvested another 12 pounds or so of imperfect fruit that we tasted and shared among ourselves.
Courage has never been so delicious!
Beverly Allen, Dallas County Master Gardener Class of 2018
Photos courtesy of Don Heaberlin, Dallas County Master Gardener Class of 2021