People, towns, businesses, farms and gardens all grow in Michigan soil.

Where is Spring?

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Mid-January in the fruit/vegetable garden.

Mid-January in the fruit/vegetable garden.

After the thaw and snowmelt, I can clearly see the remains of the garden. More leaves blew in after the final raking. More acorns dropped. More plants died. It looks dreary. It looks like January. Where is spring?

I’m into planning and dreaming now. The fence/trellis for the beans and cukes can be dug up and moved. Or I can ignore it for a year or two, plant bush beans and greens there. The chairs are really tomato cages and they were born portable. The ladder supports the blackberry bush. It stays. What I plant after that could be anything.

The best advice I get says plant what I like to eat. I add caveats. Plant what I have the room and climate to grow. Plant what I can put up or freeze. Plant more than greens, even though I love greens. This year I want to plant something new.

The listing for Noir des Carmes (in the family Cucumis melo) is enticing. The skin is black as it grows and turns orange/green as it ripens. Hard to miss a color change like that. It needs to be started indoors here in Michigan. It wants soil warmed to 65-70º just to germinate and then it needs 75 to 85 days to mature.

Some literature suggests warming the soil outdoors with black plastic before transplanting. The ground needs to be at least 70º. Why not just leave the plastic on the ground during the growing season?

All of this sound moderately fussy. But if I’m successful, I’ll be eating and sharing 4-6 pound muskmelons.


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