Grasping at straw

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Deese grows watermelons in hay bale

By Greg Summers

 Gregory A. Summers


For almost four years, Sally Deese had an unused gift from her neighbor in the backyard of her Four Oaks farm in the Buford community.

At one time it was a bale of hay just sitting there.

But now, the bale of hay in wrapped in vines producing round, ripe and great-tasting watermelons.

Deese harvested her first watermelon Wednesday, July 31.

“When I tell people, they say, ‘No way, Sally, you can’t do that; it’ll never work.”

Deese said the planting method is nothing more than divine intervention that’s making her strong faith grow just like the fruit on the vine.

“I said, ‘God, I know this is you. I couldn’t come up with nothing like this on my own. When somebody asked me how I did it, I just tell ’em, it’s not me, it’s God.”

Deese said she heard a voice that told her to plant the melons in the midst of the hay bale. Within three days, the plants had taken root and started to spread.

As they continued to grow, she shaped the vines around the bale, which is now almost covered in vines.   

“To be honest, I was shocked,” Deese said. “I guess all that moisture had gotten inside the bale and just made it good for growing. I never saw this coming.”

Deese, 70, has been a backyard gardener for most of those years. 

The oldest of 14 children, she said she started working fields at age 5. She still cultivates about two of her 40 acres of property.

“Oh, I like all of it,” she said, laughing. “Can’t wait to get on the tractor. I enjoy planting it, seeing it grow and canning it, too.”

Deese said the hay-grown watermelons have her looking at Scripture in a new light. 

Those who sow fields and plant vineyards always get a fruit yield. Deese said she now sows seeds “in season and out of season.”

“I’ve been teaching Sunday school for 51 years,” she said. “I’ve been throwing away seeds for years, too. As I get to know the Bible, I want to teach it to them right. Now, I’m planting them, be it tomato, even banana seeds when a banana goes bad. 

“Besides, when you get to be 70, you’re supposed to start gettin’ wiser,” she said, laughing.  


Contact Greg Summers at (803) 283-1156