Sow There! Living things that wither in the heat and a long walk for life May 26, 2017

Kale florets.
Kale florets. Heather Hacking

Humans are not the only form of life that withered during that first taste of 100-degree weather. The Feline Unit slept in front of the fan on the hardwood floor, her arms and legs outstretched. I worried she was lifeless, but she growled as I stepped over her nearly lifeless body. The spinach I planted during those gentle days of spring have now bolted, displaying tall flower buds.

If we grow plants for their edible leaves, we should clip the flower buds when they first begin to form. With the heat, I might need to switch to my motorized hedge trimmer.

As for broccoli, I doubt I will ever grow it again.

The Handsome Woodsman planted the seeds in October, a few weeks before he died. I consider the plants among his many gifts, but I’ve been reluctant to admit they weren’t his best decision.

In early March I munched broccoli florets about the size of quarters, looking in the direction of his empty lawn chair and giving him a nod of thanks.

After the tiny broccoli buds, the plant has given me daily yellow flowers. I have eaten so many raw and fried broccoli flowers I’m surprised I have not overdosed on Vitamin C.

Now the kale is starting to flower, and frankly, I think kale florets are easier to grow than broccoli.


Mulch is what I should have done for that ill-fated broccoli.

The Rodale Organic Life website,, tells me that it’s not the air temperature that makes broccoli behave badly, it’s the temperature of the soil. Some tricks include adding a thick layer of mulch and keeping the soil moist, to keep the temperature in the bolt-free zone. However, readers must note that Rodale is based in New England, where I would only hope the weather has not yet reached 100 degrees.


Life would be a big mellow, unswept mess if it wasn’t for folks like my friend Jenny. She asked me months ago if I would help her organize a team for the Relay For Life event in Paradise, This is an excellent cause. Jenny knows I had surgery more than two years to remove uterine cancer.

When she asked me to be some sort of co-organizer, I did not hesitate in my response. I immediately told her no way.

I work on Saturday, until my last day at the newspaper June 10. Plus, at the time of Jenny’s request I was in the middle of taking classes.

Yet, the truth is I’m not the type of person who enjoys being on a committee.

I prefer to attend some cool event and then ask if there is anything I can do. I like to stay late after a fundraiser and help stack chairs. I’ll sweep quietly in the corner and let someone else store the leftover raffle tickets in their garage until next year.

However, Relay for Life is a great cause. Most of us have lost a loved one to cancer, and some of us have been completely freaked out when cancer knocked on our doors.

Relays for Life, held in most of our communities, raise money for research and patient care programs. Team members take turns walking around the track for a full 24 hours.

The relays are also a really good excuse to dress up in purple.


The folks who picked Jenny as an organizer certainly chose the right gal. At the end of our conversation I said “if there’s anything I can do along the way, let me know.”

Here’s what Jenny needs. Each team in the relay will have a booth at the event, and will be selling something. The funds go toward the overall fundraiser.

Jenny’s vision is to sell things that are healthful, like vegetables, fruit, herbs or plants. Anything garden-related, such as yard fairies or gently used tools would also be welcome as a donation.

If you have ripe fruit in your tree, she’ll even come pick it, she said, or call one of her helpers who couldn’t say no.

The event begins at 10 a.m. June 3 at Terry Ashe Recreation Center, 6626 the Skyway in Paradise.

People like me are welcome to stop by, walk alongside friends, buy some things from Jenny’s booth and donate money.

The opening ceremony is quite powerful, with a walk at 10 a.m. by people who have been impacted by cancer.

If you would like to help, Jenny’s number is 523-3309.

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