Seed Saving Time: Harvesting Dry Seeds

Freshly harvested lettuce seed ready to be cleaned.By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

For gardeners, the most rewarding part of the season is when the harvest begins and all those luscious fruits and veggies really start to add up.  For seed savers, that joy is doubled when, in a few short weeks after the fresh harvest begins, the handful of fruits or plants that are purposely left on the vine to mature begin to set seed.  After a long season of planning, cultivating, monitoring and harvesting the bounty of the garden, the reward is more than bountiful!

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Buck: A Short Story (part two)

2001 - 11 - Peace Valley - Buck scenting the windThe continuation of a short story about our beloved lab, Buck, whose life was much too short.  Continued from Part One: 

He had around his neck a dirty old blue bandana that had been folded up like a collar and tied on when he was but a pup. That bandana was like an announcement that clearly said he belonged to someone. Probably one of the local Salish families here on the Rez. But whoever it was hadn’t noticed, or cared, that the puppy they’d strapped that thing to was not a puppy any more and now the damn thing was nearly choking him to death. It’s a wonder he could even swallow; that thing was so tight around there. Kinda irked me to see it, but he wasn’t yet sure of me and I thought twice about pissing off the wrong person. Continue reading

Buck: A Short Story (part one)

1993-1 - Gafield, AR - Buck see's snow for the first time! editBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

I wrote this short story many years ago.  Our beloved 12 year-old lab, Buck, lay dying on a pallet in the middle of our living room as Dean and I and Buck’s best buddy, Milo, comforted him until his time came.  It was sudden and wrenchingly painful and left us with a hole that could never be filled.   But even as we mourned, we laughed.  For Buck’s life, and ours with him – and with Milo – were joyous and filled with adventure, laughter and lots and lots of love.  This is a short story about a dog whose life was too short.  From my heart; in Buck’s voice.  This hasn’t been edited thoroughly on purpose.  Buck would want it that way.  I hope you enjoy. Continue reading

Make Your Own Garlic Braids in 10 Easy Steps

2014 6-30 How to braid garlic 2 (26)by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

In my kitchen, garlic reigns supreme.  I use it for so many dishes that I like to joke that I put garlic in everything but dessert! Because we use so much fresh garlic, we always grow enough to last us all year.  The only problem with growing a ton of garlic is storing it in a way that saves space, preserves quality, and allows for quick and easy removal of bulbs that develop bad spots, bruises, or those that have begun to sprout.  To solve these problems I began braiding our garlic. With garlic braids, not only can I easily choose which bulbs need to be used first, but the long strands can be hung virtually anywhere and take up absolutely zero storage space on my shelves.  Of course, garlic braids look great and they make wonderful gifts, too.  So get your garlic on and let’s braid it in 10 easy steps!

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America’s Native Bamboo – Part II – Identification and Culture

2012 2-13 February Snow (15)by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

In last week’s article, America’s Native Bamboo: History and Ecology, we learned that America was once home to massive colonies of native bamboo, better known as canebrakes. These lush cane forests played a critical role in the ecology of the regions they inhabited by filtering sediments, controlling erosion and providing food and shelter for many native animal and bird species. Cane also played an important role in the lives of the earliest inhabitants who valued it as a nutritional food plant and an important material used to fashion tools, weapons and lodging. In the early days of settlement, America’s native cane fields were first used to fatten cattle and then cleared for farmland. Today, a whopping 98% of America’s once-abundant native bamboo has been extirpated from the landscape. This week, I will discuss the ways in which native bamboos are being used in restoration projects and how we can help return them to their rightful place in nature and beautify the home landscape, all at the same time.

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America’s Native Bamboo – Part I – History and Ecology

Switch Cane copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress.comby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Mention the word bamboo and most people in the Western world naturally think of panda bears, China and steamy exotic jungles. In fact, the majority of the 1,450 species of bamboo in the world do originate in countries located in South and Southeastern Asia, with a few scattered species in Saharan Africa and the very farthest regions of South America. In these places, native bamboo species can grow as dense as the thickest forest you can imagine and produce giant canes as big around as small trees, while others are as diminutive and slender as a clump of our native Big Bluestem.  In fact, bamboo is actually a grass belonging to the Poaceae or True Grass family. With over 10,000 recognized species, true grasses represent the fifth largest plant family on earth. Knowing this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find out that the United States has three very distinct native species of bamboo, known collectively as river cane.

Wild Walk: Monarda

Monardaby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

There is nothing quite as enchanting as a chance encounter with a wild patch of flowering monarda. The electric colors of their shaggy, upright flowers light up the shady places they prefer; dazzling the unprepared eye. Once familiar with the sweet oregano-like scent of this delicately delectable herb one can often smell a colony of monarda long before seeing it. And if the scent doesn’t give it away, the sound of buzzing bees will.

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GMO’s Threaten Seed Savers

Seed really matters!by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

There’s a wonderful feeling that comes over me when the garden I have planned and tended and nurtured finally begins to pay off.   Of course, I’m pleased with the success of producing food for my family, and I’m excited about the nutritious fruits and veggies that will grace my table for the entire year to come, but the best feeling of all is knowing what is (and isn’t) in or on the food we eat.  In years past that statement would have been all about chemical fertilizers and pesticides.  But these days, the threat of food crops infected with Genetically Modified Organisms is a major concern.   That’s why learning how to save seed is so crucial for organic gardeners and farmers.

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