14 July 2009

Let Us Lettuce

During the spring plant swap brunch, I picked up a paint cap full of lettuce seedlings no bigger than thumb tacks. (Paint caps were not included in my list of possible seed starting pots [14.3.2009] earlier this year.) They stayed in the paint cap doing nothing for a week until I planted them at the beginning of May. Lazy indecision on where to plant them, the reason for the delay.

After careful consideration (actually desperation,) they settled down in the front flower bed in an area that the cannas would eventually grow into after lettuce was harvested. Onions and basil were planted among the sun-loving perennials here last year and did well. Why not consider onions and lettuce acceptable as ornamentals?

They languished in the flower bed for about a month through an unusually cool, rainy spring, perfect for lettuce so I thought. But they were buried in dirt splashes after every rain. In June the plants took off. It must be pointed out that this spring has been different in the Washington area, with plenty of below-average temperatures and low humidity.

The variety is not known, but the gardener who started the seedlings referred to it as head lettuce. It is not producing heads, and the largest plant appears ready to launch a seed stalk. The lettuce taste is quite strong in the large leaves, and contrary to the photo, the color is very dark green once it is washed and in a salad bowl. The success at growing lettuce in the front yard will encourage more of the same come fall and spring next year.

For The Record:
  • Well drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Organic slow-release fertilizer

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: nicotiana, cosmos, cleome, hostas, phlox, liatris
    alyssum, nasturtium, coneflower, obedient plant
  • Harvested: lettuce, broccoli
  • Progress: tomatoes full size, peppers 1.5"