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Lotsa Lettuce

March 16th, 2015

I’m a sucker for lettuce seeds. When I read through the descriptions and see the beautiful images in the seed catalogs I go a little overboard. I do like a lot of variety in my salad bowl and find that five or six types of lettuce makes for a great salad.
Lettuce seedlings
I have found that lettuce seeds are often best to be purchased fresh each year. I used to keep them for a few years, but germination is so much faster and so many more seeds germinate when the seeds are really fresh. Now all of my leftover seed from the year gets thrown into planters in the fall that get overwintered in the basement. Then I have a nice crop of mesclun for salads in the early winter months.
lettuce 1
On Saturday I started a flat of lettuces & endive, there are 15 varieties in all that were started this go around. There are also three other varieties in planters in the basement…..and I have another 15 that are later season varieties that will replace these when the weather warms up a bit. Then I have another 10-15 varieties that will be grown in the fall/winter. Butterheads are my favorite types of lettuce, with romaine coming in a close second. Leaf lettuce are probably my least favorite. I like a lot of crunch and texture in my lettuce. Endive and other bitter greens are also always in my salad bowl, nothing rounds out sweet greens like a bit a bitterness!

What’s your favorite kind of lettuce to grow?

The Bounty Begins

June 7th, 2014

I love salad season.  After a long winter of eating lots of root vegetables, salads really make my palate happy.  Around mid-February I start to crave leafy greens but usually refuse to buy salad that’s not locally grown or grown in my own garden.  Hopefully I’ll have a greenhouse someday to allow for a few green salads all winter long, until then winter means a famine of salad.
garden harvest
I’m extremely thankful that every evening I can head out to the garden to harvest a bowl full of various greens for our dinner. This year my focus was on red leaved salads since they contain more nutrients than green (for more information on healthier varieties of vegetables read Eating on the Wild Side.) There are also tiny French Breakfast Radishes to eat, I actually don’t like radishes, but I grow some each year.
redfish
Last night we also enjoyed Acadian Redfish as our maine course. I was reading an article about how this fish isn’t sold much because it’s considered “lobster bait” or a lesser species. Fisherman don’t make much on it. Our local fishermans co-op featured it and I decided to give it a try. Buying it helps the local fishing industry and it helps lessen the need for other popular fish. Here’s an interesting article from The Portland Press Herald about encouraging people to eat more Redfish.

What are you harvesting from your garden this week?

Soaking up the Sun

February 28th, 2011

Yesterday was a beautiful day here at Chiot’s Run. We saw the sun, the weather was warm, up around 40 and the snow and ice we got earlier in the week was melting off. This is the time of the year when you really start to notice that the days are getting longer. The sun is higher in the sky and feels warmer when you’re outside. Since it was so nice, I put a flat of lettuce seedling on the front porch in the afternoon to harden off. I also left them out overnight so they could get used to temps a little colder than their basement home.

They’ll be planted out in my cold frame someday later this week if I have a warm day without rain. The nice thing about planting in spring is that you don’t have to worry as much about hardening off as far as the sun goes. The cold however is a different story I find. My front porch is perfect for hardening off, it gets the afternoon sun. The concrete floor warms in the sun and will keep seedlings warmer in the spring so I don’t have to worry about them freezing or getting nipped by frost.

The greenish yellow lettuce is ‘Little Gem’ from Burpee and ‘Sea of Red’ lettuce from Renee’s Garden is the reddish lettuce. I sowed this flat on January 18th, and had first germination on the 21st. I also sowed ‘Rouge Genobloise’ which didn’t germinate very well and ‘Sanquine Ameliore’ lettuce which didn’t germinate at all, both of these were from Baker Creek. I’m not sure what happened with these, I’m going to try sowing another flat with them. Perhaps I just got a bad batch of seeds, which happens on occasion.

Do you have a favorite spot for hardening off seedlings? Are you planting anything in your garden yet?

Lettuce Love

September 27th, 2008

My lettuce is loving this weather (and so am I). I’m looking forward to salad all fall with this patch and another one.

I have to put a fence around my lettuce or the rabbits mow it down, but that’s ok. Next year I’m considering putting up an electric fence around the back yard to keep all the critters out, but until then my little make-shift fences work.

Anyone have any great tips to keep the rabbits & groundhogs out of the lettuce patch?

Bring on the Salad Bowl

August 8th, 2008

A few weeks ago I ordered some lettuce seeds. I started them on the 23 of July. I put them in the basement where it’s cool (lettuce likes cool weather). A couple days later they germinated and then under the grow lights they went. This is what they looked like on July 27th.
I can’t believe how quickly these seedlings grew. I think the secret this time was the Dr Earth Starter Fertilizer that I added to my seed starting mix. From now I’ll be using this with all my seeds.

Today the seedlings went outside on the back deck to get ready for planting in the garden. They’ll stay there a couple days to get used to the sun & wind.

So what kinds of lettuce do I have for our late summer & fall salad bowl?

Black Seeded Simpson

Green Jericho Romaine Lettuce

Simpson Elite Lettuce

Red Sails Lettuce

I also started some Red Ruby cabbage for the fall.

The spinach seeds I started haven’t germinated much yet. I have one that’s just starting to emerge.

I can’t wait for all these salads.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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