I have a confession to make: this year my garden looks pitiful. It’s weedy, and brown, and dry, and just plain sad. Surprisingly enough, it’s producing a bounty of tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, squash, and peppers to name a few. But it’s not pretty. It ain’t pretty at all. I can’t bear to show any pictures of the mess – it’s beginning to rival my laundry room.

Things just don’t look as healthy as in years past, except for this, a volunteer watermelon.

There are actually a total of three watermelon plants, I believe. They’ve popped up on a small slope near our garden and have been going strong. They’re healthy, vibrant and thriving with little rain.

We decided to scale the garden back (other than the tomatoes) this year, and didn’t plant any melons. It seems these watermelon plants had other plans in mind. And boy, am I glad they did.

Meet Bertha.

She’s the largest thus far, marching her way right toward a Melon Salad real soon. And she’s not alone. Bertha has a whole family following in her footsteps, five to be exact, as far as I can tell.

This one looks a little wonky, but I bet it’ll taste just fine.

Here’s a cute one. It’s fun to watch the watermelons grow a little bit each night.

And there are signs of more to join the clan.

How ironic is it that the plants we planted, fertilized, have watered and tended to are struggling to get by, but these volunteers are the strongest, healthiest plants in the garden?

Maybe next year I’ll not plant one thing, and see what pops up on its own. I may try it, just once.

So, how’s your garden growing this season? Any surprises? Anything new you’ve tried that you’d like to share?