…Speaking Hydroponically Of Course.
A while ago I noticed – probably on Google Maps – that close to the Big C Supermarket in Surat Thani – a place I visit often to buy beer plus non-essential commodities like food – there is a place that calls
From their Facebook page it looked like they gave tours, so – “That could be interesting” I thought – and tried to learn more. They didn’t answer my e-mail and I couldn’t find anyone who had heard of the place. So, I decided if I was ever in the area along with a friend of much Thainess, I would persuade said friend to come along with me to translate.
Yesterday I found a victim … errm, friend.
I knew pretty-much where it was. After all, I had found it on Google Maps. Even so, we needed Google Maps to find it yesterday. This is the entrance…
Looks just like a melon farm, right? Wrong! Apparently the small sign in the background, with the arrow pointing right, says “Melons this way” or something similar. Who’d a thought it.
Anyhoo, we found the small office/souvenir room/coffee shop kind of place, that was hiding behind Bert, and enquired about tours…
Yes, we were told we could look around. Hmm. “There’s lettuce here and tomatoes over there.”
“But what about the melons?” we asked. “Oh no” they said, “You can’t see the melons. They’re closed until the 12th.”
Just how you close melons was beyond me – and still is. I’m guessing, because information was something that was in short supply, that no one was allowed to see the melons growing. They must be shy or something. Only melons that are big round and firm could be on display.
So we looked at the lettuce.
Yes, very nice. Green, leafy, and they looked like they was still growing.
So, it was okay to look at under-ripe lettuce but not under-ripe melons.
Being in a hot greenhouse, the nicest part was standing in the hydroponic spray. Like walking into fog.
And we looked at tomatoes. Lots of them…
And as we wandered from greenhouse to greenhouse, we spotted the melons! They were indeed closed. Padlocked even. Except for the very last greenhouse that had its door secured with a twig. So, while my friend acted as a decoy by wandering around aimlessly looking suitably bored, probably because she was suitably bored, I gingerly grasped the twig and pulled.
With pulse racing, I was able to open up a farang-sized gap, to sneak inside furtively, and look at … (small pause as the excitement builds) … no melons!…
Okay. They are melon plants, and and when they’ve finished pollinating themselves, without the embarrassing stares of a strange foreigner, no doubt there will be melons. Although, I think, not by the 12th.
Just as I was experiencing a feeling of total failure wafting over me – or was it the spray – I noticed in the next, firmly-padlocked greenhouse, there was a melon.
So, even though the photograph had to be taken through some fine netting, here in all its glory is – one melon…
Overwhelmed I was not, just as you are probably not. But in case the melon police are around, don’t tell anyone you’ve seen it. At least, not until the 12th.
Well, I must admit, the visit was a bit of a failure. I was hoping to learn something. Like, why hydroponic? How much water do they use? How many do they grow? Are they for export or domestic consumption? And more things that I can no longer remember. But all I learned was that I could look at the tomatoes and lettuce. And it took four people to tell me that.
Oh, but wait, I forgot. There were animals. You could feed the hydroponic lettuce to the deer, and a very annoying duck…
The only saving grace was that you could buy tomatoes. And I love tomatoes. I haven’t tasted anything like these since the 1950s when I used to sneak into my Aunt’s greenhouse. Other than that, it was a bit of a wasted afternoon.