I am always amazed at the power of seed. One seed that can be carefully nurtured and grow into a full-sized plant. Of course, in nature plants produce hundreds if not thousands of seeds so that at least a few of them will be viable and continue to grow. Seeds face adverse conditions when left to their own devices. Forces like wind, water, animals and people can prevent them from germinating. Sometimes we carry seeds unknowingly to places where conditions are not favourable for growth. In my case, I must have done something right.
Today I am here to tell you the story of the power of seed in my garden. In early March and April I plant up thousands of seeds so I can supply my garden and my customer’s gardens with precious seedlings. It can get pretty hectic in the spring and the greenhouse floor and potting area is a mess of soil and pots as I carefully plant my seeds.
Fast forward to early May and all the plants that have enjoyed their time in the greenhouse have ventured outside to acclimatize for their new homes. I had decided this year to not grow any plants in the greenhouse. Keeping it cool meant running the large noisy fan and it still kept the temperatures hovering around 35C. This would be the one year I didn’t grow anything inside.
Then about the end of May, I opened the door of the greenhouse to grab some hand tools and noticed a bit of green at the base of the potting bench. Upon closer inspection I identified it as a cucamelon plant. I chuckled as I wondered whether to leave it or pull it. My soft side prevailed and I left the plant, thinking it wouldn’t do well without water and probably die, so I left it alone.
May and June were busy as we filled the garden with vegetables and flowers from the plant shelves outside. I paid little attention to the greenhouse and what was happening inside as the hot weather had arrived and going in the greenhouse meant subjecting myself to temperatures over 40C.
In late June I opened the door to see this crazy monster of a plant growing inside the greenhouse. Yes, the tiny cucamelon plant was making its way down to the end of the greenhouse which is twenty feet long. That day as I watered the plants outside I stood with the hose and gave the plant a light spray from the doorway. Not too much as I had a bag of lime sitting next to the plant that I didn’t want to get soaking wet.
I had cucamelons growing outside in the kitchen garden and probably shouldn’t have let the greenhouse plant continue to grow but it was too late by this point. Fortunately I left the cucamelon plant to grow and before I knew it it was sending its tendrils out the vents in the greenhouse roof. I imagined the plant covering the whole inside of the greenhouse and I was right. It happened.
Yesterday I went inside to see that the plant had some whitefly and a bit of mildew starting. It was time to remove the plant but first I had to harvest the fruit. Yes, with our cool spring the bees had soon found the plant and they loved the warmth of the greenhouse. I think that’s why I waited so long to take the plant out. You see the cucuamelons growing outside produced little fruit this year and I figured it was a lack of pollination as many plants seem affected this year. That one plant in the greenhouse was full of fruit and I would have to work around the bees to harvest them.
That one cucamleon seed dropped at the foot of my potting bench produced five pounds of cucamelons, more than I have ever had. The power of growing from seed is amazing and one that everyone should experience even if it’s a fluke of a planting like mine. Sometimes it’s the mistakes we make that give us so much hope and food for thought. So today I am saving seeds from the cucamelons and hope to have lots of seed available for 2018.
To learn how to save cucamelon seeds read here: How to Save Cucamleon Seeds