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Save the melons with pantyhose

Lynette Evans
San Francisco Chronicle
16 agosto 2003 - 11:23 a.m.

It's not annoying enough that I have to put on pantyhose every day to go to work; now I'm dressing my melons in stockings. All over the melon patch, burgeoning watermelons and cantaloupes are glowing silkily in the sun, their green skins sheathed in Town Taupe and Barely There and Jet.

What else could I do? A couple of weeks ago I found several young melons gnawed, sometimes all the way to the center. Green and immature as they were, they had become the teething rings of choice for some critter. I'd guess mice for those that were eaten to the unformed seeds, maybe cucumber beetles (although I've never seen one), or even snails for the smaller nibbles. Whatever it was didn't stick around to introduce itself.

So, on the advice of Amy Goldman, who says in "Melons for the Passionate Grower" (Artisan Sales, 2002) that "loosely wrapping the developing fruits in spun polyester cloth prevents them from being defaced by marauding cucumber beetles," I headed for the garden with the next best thing — a couple of pairs of old pantyhose.

Even fitting the burgeoning watermelons into the thigh end and stuffing the cantaloupes into the toes, I was soon out of hose and heading for the discount- store cash register with six packages of queen-size knee-high stockings (three pairs for 88 cents) in a really ugly pearl color. Back in the melon patch, I slipped a sock over any melon that had yet to be attacked.

The next day, the melon patch was undisturbed. Not a run in the bunch.

This is not the first time underwear has found its way into the garden. Seems to me I've read of supporting melons on a trellis in the cups of old bras, but maybe I'm making that up.

This year's melons carry the names "Sugar Baby," "Crimson Sweet," "Moon and Stars," "Ambrosia" and "Iroquois," but if I ever hybridize my own, I'll name it "Victoria's Secret."


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