About Me

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Concord, California, United States
I am a sometimes-writer, everyday mama, creative failure and experimental cook. I am interested in living a beautiful life, spending time with my family and making things that I can feel proud of. When I'm by myself I'm usually outside. Don't bother calling because chances are that I didn't bring my cell phone because I couldn't find it. If you see me walking, it's because I lost my keys and if you see me with only one child... I'm probably in big trouble.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Peppermint Patch Experiment

My failure to grow watermelon in the front garden has been like a terrible itch between my shoulder blades that I can not reach to scratch.  I sat on my hands for about 24 hours, trying to think of reasons why my watermelon refuse to grow.  In my heart of hearts, I know that no amount of waiting will see plump, round, summer fruit.  The trouble of soil and space preoccupied my thoughts.  And late last night I had what I mistakenly believed was a brilliant idea!

We have a crazy, overgrown, peppermint patch in our backyard. It's quite large.  I don't use the peppermint in it  because it skeeves me out.  Frankly, I have SEEN Groovy James wading through it.  Pandora curls up in it.  And Sherbert once hid a dead baby bird in it (found thanks to only the flies).  I just can't eat something that has probably been peed on and has likely seen animals in varied states of decomposition.   

So... I mistakenly thought... I'll pluck the peppermint out and plant my watermelon in the nutrient rich soil beneath!  

Here's what I had to work with.

But after I picked the peppermint out, I was left with anything but soft, nutrient rich soil.  Instead, the ground was full of crusty, broken roots.  I tried to pull them all out, but I couldn't get them.  Then, I tried to dig them out, but I couldn't seem to get deep enough to find their end.

And that is when I made two emergency watermelon patch calls.  I first called my friend Mathew and then called my friend Siet.  They both returned my call within the hour, but Siet got to me first so I ran with her advice.  

Both Mathew and Siet said pretty much the same thing. 

There's no fighting peppermint. Unless you can get every single root up, and trust me, you can't, just accept that you have a peppermint patch and embrace it.

But I can't do that because I want to turn my peppermint patch into a watermelon patch.  I do not like peppermint and I do like watermelon.

Siet gave me some sound advice and it may work, but it may not.

Remove all the tape from a bunch of cardboard boxes and cover the peppermint patch with several layers of cardboard.

Then, buy large bags of compost.  Cut holes in the top of the bags and plant the watermelon in the bag itself.  Place it on top of the cardboard.  In time, the bag will begin to degrade, as will the cardboard.  The cardboard will deprive the peppermint patch of light and water and will starve it out.  By the time the watermelon is strong enough for its roots to push through the bag and the cardboard, the peppermint will be dead.  

After planting my peppermint, and giving it a lot of room to stretch and grow, I also planted cucumber and covered the area and the bags with mulch.

This is the final result!   

Here's another view.

I am going to get a little trellis to lean against the bench for the cucumbers.  I think that this should be enough space for the watermelon to stretch their legs.  

But just in case, I planted two other watermelon in different places.  

But that's something to talk about in my next post!  

ps.  I'd quickly like to add that the person who I initially talked to at Lowes told me that they don't carry compost when I asked her where they keep it.  When I told her that I had seen a bag of it alone and wondered if they had more, she assured me (and prefaced it with  the word "honey") that they don't carry any compost.  And she laughed as if I were absurd.  

To that woman, I say, "It's in the same aisle as the mulch and you  have three different kinds that come in two different sizes."  Suck it.  

1 comment:

  1. Crazy amount of work in the backyard you did!