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Snug as Bugs

March 23rd, 2016

My greens are all snug as bugs in the low tunnel in the potager. After I transplanted them we had some really cold nights, down into the teens. I added an extra layer of agribon to my little lovelies and they came through with flying colors.
Low tunnel
When I went out in the morning the temperature under the agribon was 10 degrees warmer than outside the low tunnel. It’s pretty amazing what you can do with a little bit of plastic. Hopefully I’ll be eating lettuce in a few weeks.

What’s the temperature like in your garden?

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?

So Long Lettuce

July 12th, 2014

It’s been warm here in Maine, in the 80’s most days. I like the warmth, so do the peppers and tomatoes, the lettuce however does not. When it gets hot the lettuce bolts into tall spires that are quite stunning. I always leave a few to set seed for next year, fresh lettuce seed sprouts so quickly and it’s so easy to save your own see.
lettuce 2
This year I grew a variety called ‘Ruby Gem’ that was AMAZING. By far my favorite lettuce ever. This variety is also packed with antioxidants because it’s a very deep red.
lettuce 2
For now we will say goodbye to spring salads and we welcome zucchini, peas, beans, and other warm weather vegetables in their place. It’s also time to plant more lettuce for fall and winter crops. For me lettuce is one of my favorite things to grow, I love fresh salads and will eat as many as I can in spring, summer, fall and winter. I don’t buy lettuce at the store though, so it’s always bittersweet when the lettuce fades until the next harvest.

Do you have any vegetables that are nearing their end in the garden? What will you miss the most?

5×5 Harvests

May 29th, 2014

I missed my 5×5 Challenge post yesterday, with the holiday weekend I’ve been off a day every since. Last week marked my first harvest from the 5×5 garden. We’ve been enjoying an evening salad every night. It’s amazing how many salads a small plot of lettuce will produce. If you remember, I planted this lettuce back in early April.
salad harvest
I like to pick the outside leaves of the little lettuce plants rather than cutting the entrée plant. Doing this ensure continual production until the weather gets too hot. Of course the chickens LOVE the salad as well so I have put a little fence in the garden to keep them out!

Are you harvesting anything for your plate from the garden yet?

Friday Favorite: ‘Roxy’ Lettuce

August 2nd, 2013

I’ve grown tons of different kinds of lettuce in my garden, probably around 30-40 different varieties. I’m always trying new ones because I haven’t found that perfect lettuce yet – until now. Meet ‘Roxy’ lettuce, voted by our taste buds as the best lettuce I’ve ever grown. Two years ago, I purchased tiny head of ‘Roxy’ at my farmers market – I knew I had to grow it in my own garden. This year, I finally ordered seed from High Mowing. I started seed in mid-May and transplanted them to the garden in mid-June.
Roxy Lettuce 2
Why is this lettuce voted best tasting? Because it’s crisp yet tender. The leaves have great structure in a salad, it’s a butterhead lettuce but has the great crunch of romaine. It holds dressing well, without becoming slimy like a leaf lettuce often does. It holds it’s own in a salad with few topping or many toppings. When Mr Chiots ate his first bite of this lettuce, he said “This would be great on a burger”.
Roxy Lettuce 1
Another reason to love this lettuce is that it’s very slow to bolt, even with some hot weather. We had temperatures in the high 80’s for almost a week when this lettuce was almost mature, not a hint of bitterness and no bolting yet. The description says that this lettuce “holds for a long time in the field”. It certainly does, I’ll be keeping a keen eye on it, but so far it’s nice because there’s not as much need to succession plant if the heads keep so well in the garden.

Do you have a favorite lettuce that you grow?

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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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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