This is our last watermelon of the year.
The rest of the melons on this garden space are not quite ready, and will be offered to our animals. Those unripe melons, the remaining squash and bean pods, the blistered corn cobs clinging to their stalks, and the all the green material in this garden, will be enjoyed by our chickens and porkers.
We must now turn our animals into this garden to prepare the soil for a Fall planting.
Companion Planting with Melons
Three Sisters companion plantings traditionally feature corn, beans, and squash; however, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables grow well in this system, even melons.
The Three Sisters garden in these pictures is a first ever planting on this patch of ground. To develop a new garden, we first prepare the area, as wild and thick as it is, with chickens and pigs. The animals eat down all the foliage, brush, weeds, and grass, and fertilize and till the soil.
Next, we plant a Three Sisters garden on that space and harvest everything from it we can. Then we turn the animals back into that area to consume the remaining green material; the stems and leaves of the vegetables and the remaining produce. The animals compost the foliage, so to speak, in their bellies, and return those nutrients to the soil as powerfully good fertilizer.
We develop extremely rich soil in this process, and the chicken, eggs, and pork sustained by these gardens become quite delicious. This method of heritage farming is highly efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable.
A Last Taste of Summer
Melons this late in September feel like a present, a gift of goodness among the tangled green vines. To me, they are all gifts, these black diamond watermelons that sprang from soil I knew to be wild not long ago.
And this one is a last taste of sweetness, to say goodbye to summer.