This place is so Seedy!

10 04 2010

Things are looking messy in the Oasis and O2, because the cold weather crops are flowering and going to seed.

Since many of my plants are open pollinated heirlooms, I’m letting them complete the cycle in order to save the seeds.

The broccoli has been a steady source of goodness from day one. I didn’t really like broccoli until I planted my own. It didn’t take long to accept the fact that I wasn’t going to get those big, compact heads like you find in the grocery store. I learned to be thrilled by anything the size of a golf ball. However, had the plants produced lots of broccoli, I may not have discovered all of the wonderfulness of this completely edible and boisterous plant.


Broccoli is like the Golden Retriever of the garden; a gregarious, versatile, attractive and loyal plant. I made cream of broccoli soup from the leaves, stems and diminutive florets. We had cooked greens and stuffed leaves, we had broccoli on salads and as tasty snacks while walking around the yard. Even the flowers are sweet and yummy! The old plant has been around for a year now; and as it goes to seed, it has one more trick up its seed. (That’s no type-O.) I anticipate collecting enough seeds to keep us in tasty broccoli sprouts for the duration of the summer!


And like a Golden Retriever, this plant wags its tail all over the garden bed, innocently trampling everything nearby. Next time I will give the broccoli plenty of space to spread out.


Broccoli Seed Pods


OK, I guess that’s enough about broccoli. I do have other things going on, too.

Lettuce gone to seed


Lettuce Seeds


Tatsoi Seed Pods
If these look familiar, that’s because tatsoi is an Asian relative of broccoli. I know, I know…I said I would shut up about the broccoli!


Dill Flower Head


Wax Beans


Speaking of seeds; see those gray things around the base of the bean plant? Those are the nuts from the Asian Sabal Palm. It puts out a huge mass of pretty blue-green seeds, which are stripped bare by squirrels and mocking birds and tossed all over the ground. They even throw them at the roof of the RV, making lots of loud “thunks” throughout the day.

Well, that about wraps it up for this post. Next time I will share the fun I’ve had with a gallon of milk. Hint, we’ve gone all Mediterranean with our diet.

I’ve also got a bunch of photos of the babies in the garden, although they won’t be babies much longer. Fertilizer and Atomic Grow are making sure of that!

And today is Carrie’s birthday. She’s got her hair done, so I will get a good picture of her. I’ll also post an update on the electric bill and water heater issue.

“United we stand. Divided we starve.”

10 04 2010

…or so they would have you believe.

The cats have learned to band together in manifesting their food. If they stare at the bowls,


or a human, with just the right amount of concentration, the food will magically appear.


And it works like a charm!

A Good Snag and our New Neighbors

10 04 2010

It was to be either one very, very looooonng post or a series of smaller ones all in a row. I chose to break it up, so that you can skip past any (or all) that don’t interest you.

We moved to this lot because it had some nice trees and lots of shade. Then something began happening to the hickory trees throughout the park. We had one in the front. It was the base for my first gardening attempt (the fern bed). Well, it died right away. AJ and I went round and round about that dead tree. I wanted to save it for the critters, he wanted to chop it down before it toppled over and smashed the RV. We had hit a snag about a snag. Fortunately, as we are usually prone to do, we arrived at a compromise.

AJ cut the tree back, leaving most of the stump, but not enough to pose danger to any structures. It isn’t very attractive, so we planted a large wild bromeliad in its crook and hung a bird feeder on one arm and wind chimes on the other. As the tree has gradually decayed, it has developed a nice patina of lichens on the trunk and sprouted a spectacular crop of shelf mushrooms. I especially love the mushrooms because the lizards use them for basking and the squirrels use them as a staircase. I believe that the old tree has never been more full of life than after its death.

Doomsayer that he is, AJ frequently comments upon the increasing instability of the rotting snag. “One of these days that think is going to fall over. It’s already so loose that you could push it down.” Then he threatens to cut it down. I resist and point out that the poor woodpeckers depend upon these dead trees for their food; and that there are so few already, because everyone cuts them down. Sure enough, the woodpeckers began to take notice and often visited for a meal. They are so shy and skittish that they could see us inside and would flit off if we moved around.

Imagine my surprise when I noticed a pair of Downy Woodpeckers carving a perfect circle right on the branch closest to the window.  As the days passed and the hole got deeper they became more bold. Eventually they got so brave as to keep working even if we went outside and walked around. This only confirms for me the scarcity of suitable nesting sites.

Meet our new neighbors who live in the snag next door. Can’t wait for the babies to arrive!