Here, in Southeast Texas, it is pretty common place to drive passed someone and see them in their yard burning stuff. We Southerner's call this designated spot a burn pile and most people have one in their backyard. Now, what is burned depends on the level of country living you fall into. I have a burn pile but I like to dress it up and refer to it as a fire pit... bricks stacked and formed into a circle, simple. We burn sticks, grass cuttings, yard debris and paper products. Some people burn everything, and I mean EVERYTHING (remember the level of country living I mentioned earlier).
Which brings me to my latest burn pile discovery. I stopped at my grandma's house and noticed that there were three bags of trash on the porch. I asked her why they were not in her dumpster. She laughed and told me that it wasn't trash and that there were cantaloupe plants that started growing out of the bags! My uncle had went and cleaned my mom's burn pile (removed the excess ashes) and bagged up the ashes to throw away with the upcoming trash day. My mom likes cantaloupe and had tossed her rinds near her burn pile and never gave it another thought. The cantaloupe seeds from the rinds were mixed with the ashes my uncle gathered... add a two day rain shower and poof you've got cantaloupe plants!
If you think about it, it is the perfect place for seeds to grow. The ash from this burn pile is predominately wood ash and it is rich in nitrogen which promotes leaf growth. Add a little rain shower and you have an ashy garden.
I do not recommend anyone grow their garden vegetables or fruits in this setting. Gardening is a science and I do not pretend or claim to be an authority on gardening in any aspect. I am a receiver of master gardeners... they grow it and I eat it!
In the event that these plants grow what I refer to as Redneck Cantaloupe, I highly doubt I will be one of the taste testers :) But it has been a fun teaching tool with my kids and they have had a fun time checking on the "trash plants" when we go to visit.
Why is it that when I try hard to not kill a plant it dies but a pile of trash on a porch can yield a fruit plant?!