Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lettuce Go Crazy!

If you see me and my nose is wiggling and twitching, you'll know its because I've been eating too much lettuce.  I got carried away when I planted my garden this year.  Last year it wouldn't have been a problem because the chickens would have loved the excess lettuce and greens but Lulu can only eat so much by herself.  FYI - my rows are around 25 feet long give of take a couple of feet.

I have 1/2 row of mixed greens from my own seed I gathered.  I originally had a package of Mesclun mix and saved some seed from the various plants that grew.  I love the variety of colour and texture in this mix.

This is my 1/2 row of Deer-Tongue Lettuce.  I got the seed from a Seedy Saturday several years ago and have since saved my own seeds.  I love it because it takes a long time to turn bitter.  You can usually eat this long after your other lettuce is gone.

This is 1/2 row is a mix of mustard greens that I saved from mixed seed packages grown over the last couple of years.  The mustard family plants seed earlier and easier than some of the other lettuce and greens.  They add a nice bite to the salad, a bit peppery without being really bitter.

This is my 1/2 row of Super Gourmet Salad Blend.  It is a mix of 5 varieties of red and green lettuce.  I started with at least half a dozen different blends of seed and planted a bit of each.  I've been trying to save some of each type of seed but haven't been successful with all of them.  These seeds are some of the original store bought seeds I have left.  They may be getting too old all they did not sprout as good as my own saved seeds.

This is some salad bowl lettuce from seed I received from Erin, a fellow blogger and gardener.  I also have a volunteer red lettuce and a sunflower growing there.  I planted sunflowers last year for the chickens and have a couple of volunteers from seeds they overlooked.

This is the last of my Bon Vivant mix that contains according to the package a mix of "exotic leaf shapes, textures, and colours ranging from deep reds, bronze tones, and various shades of green."  I have still have several types of lettuces seeds in this mix to collect including some with deeply textured leaves.

I finished that row with more of my mixed greens.  I love the look of a salad with numerous colours and shapes of leaves.  Many of the leaves have a different flavour as well - some peppery and some satisfyingly crisp.  I also use some spinach in my salads as well.

This last 1/2 row is an Ooops row.  I have a second garden that I am not using this year and we were going to till in some grass clippings.  I saw a number of volunteer lettuce plants that weren't big enough to eat but too nice to till under.  So I dug up the individual plants and planted them in an empty 1/2 row at the end of my cabbages.  It wasn't marked with a stake and I didn't bother to go into the house and check my map.  Several days after I planted the lettuce I remembered that was 1/2 row of cucumbers.  I was upset with myself for digging up my cukes before they sprouted.  I found that I missed many of the plants and they are growing alongside the lettuce.  Yippee!  :)

For new seed savers, I found that lettuce is one of the easier plants to save the seeds from.  The biggest problem is removing the flower fluff from the seeds.  I didn't bother to remove it all (too time consuming) so my own seeds get seeded thicker than store bought and as a result grow up much thicker.  If you have a particular lettuce you want to grow again, give it a try.  Really what do you have to lose and in the end you may even save money and have some of your proudly saved seed to share with friends.  ;)

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