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Planting Frenzy

April 29th, 2015

I spent a few minutes on Sunday and an hour yesterday planting around 250 lettuce seedlings in the garden. That’s a lot of lettuce, but amazingly it will all be eaten. We will eat most of it, the remainder will be given to neighbors and friends. I might have even planted enough to take a basket each week to my local soup kitchen. Now that these seedlings are planted I’ll be starting flats of heat tolerant lettuces for summer salads.
File Apr 28, 9 30 26 PM
Some readers ask if it’s worth taking the time to start lettuce seedlings indoor, I think it is and will always do it. These seedlings will be big enough for me to start harvesting outer leaves in only two weeks. The seeds that I direct seeded in the garden are just beginning to germinate. Seeding flats gives me a 3 week jump on the growing season. Some of the containers I seeded at the same time are ready to be harvested. I’m so happy it’s salad season and could easily eat it three times a day (and often do).

Do you plant large quantities of any vegetables?

Lotsa Lettuces

April 27th, 2015

Yesterday I spent a little bit of time transplanting lettuce seedlings. They were a bit bigger than I’d like, but with all the rain and cold nights we’ve been having lately I couldn’t get them planted sooner.
lotsa lettuce 1
Luckily it started raining as I was finishing up, so they’ll get watered in quite nicely.
lotsa lettuce 2
These beauties were planted in alternating rows in the garden. I find that this helps me keep the varieties separated much more easily. I’m super excited about salad season and I think that I should be able to harvest a salad or two from my container lettuce this week. Guess it’s time to start making up a few batches of dressing.

What’s your favorite type of lettuce to grow?

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?

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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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