Meet Bill Knowles. Bill is an Army veteran and enjoys photography, computers, genealogy and growing watermelons.
For many years, Bill worked at a pickle plant in Wisconsin where he was in charge of preparing the land to grow and harvest cucumbers. In addition to growing cucumbers, he enjoyed fixing equipment and designing new machinery at the factory. When searching for a senior community to move into, Bill and his wife, Marilyn, knew that they wanted a place where they could grow a garden, just like they’d done in their own home.
After moving to Heritage Homes, a facility of The Lutheran Home Association in Watertown, Wis., in 2001, Bill and Marilyn got the garden they wanted. “Farming and gardening are the biggest gambles anyone can take,” said Bill of the unwanted garden plot. Wanting to try something new and different, Bill decided to try his hand at growing watermelons.
When all the melons are ripe and ready to be picked, he cuts them up and distributes them in plastic bags to friends and residents. Bill gives his watermelons away for free, but does accept donations for his garden fund to ensure he can keep it going every year.
Last year, Bill grew 65 melons totaling over 600 pounds!