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Watermelon grows in produce store parking lot
A watermelon vine grows in the parking lot of R & J Produce on 196 West. - photo by Photo by Jessica Duncan
Growing in the parking lot at R & J Produce on 196 West is the little plant that could.
"People come by to ask what it is," said Joann Schroeder, who owns the produce store with her husband Rick. "I think it's just so pretty. I've never seen anything like this before."
The plant is a watermelon vine that looks as though it sprang right out of the concrete.
"We were eating watermelons here and the seeds just fell out onto the ground," Schroeder said. "There's a little bit of dirt here at the edge, and that's where it grows from. The moisture from under the cement is what makes it grow."
Schroeder said that neither she nor her husband had ever watered or fertilized the plant, which is now 10 feet long, and that she expects it to grow another 10 feet before the weather turns. It's even already producing fruit.
This isn't the first time that R & J Produce has had a watermelon plant grow in its parking lot.
"We had one last year," Schroeder said, "over that way in one of the parking spaces."
The plant withered before summer's end, but not before the Schroeders could reap the benefits of its fruit.
"We got eight full-sized watermelons off that plant," Schroeder said. "We had some tiny little baby ones that didn't grow very big, and I put them on the shelf inside the store. People wanted to buy them, too!"
Schroeder hopes that this year's plant will prove to be heartier and, if the weather stays warm, will live as late as November.
"You just don't get to see anything like this in Hinesville," she said.
As for next year, Schroeder said, "We'll definitely put some seeds down. We want another plant!"

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