Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Heirloom Melons and Squash: Eye Candy for Gardeners

I've spent the last few dark, rainy Portland evenings ogling heirloom squash and melons, courtesy of two gorgeous books by Amy Goldman: Melons for the Passionate Grower (2002) and The Compleat Squash: A Passionate Grower's Guide to Pumpkins, Squashes, and Gourds (2004). Both books provide a bit of general growing information, but most of the content is pictures -- full-color still life photos that show off the beauty of these sometimes-strange-looking fruits. Both books include brief growing information for each variety and a list of sources for seed. All are open-pollinated, and the author includes some information on the how and why of seed saving to preserve these endangered varieties.

Such beautiful books are the perfect antidote to dark winter days! In the depths of winter, it seems possible to have a perfect patch of heirloom melons in Portland. Never mind that attempting to grow melons in Portland is a bit like Samuel Johnson's description of second marriages: the triumph of hope over experience. But hope springs eternal, so I'll be sending off for some heirloom melon seeds.

Here are links to the books at Amazon:

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