This has been the perfect year to grow lettuces. It was an early spring that warmed the soil and the hot afternoons have been broken up by cool rain at night – just like Camelot, as my mother used to say. I grow salad ingredients close to the house. They are convenient to pick at the last minute before dinner and the location makes it less tempting to the deer. So far.
I plant the lettuces very thickly to discourage weeds and keep the roots shaded. The picture above features Red Salad Bowl (very aptly named, in the bowl), Fedco’s mesclun mix in the front of the raised bed and Bull’s Blood beet greens in the back. My dooryard can be hot on a sunny afternoon, so the bed below is shaded by a young “Good Barn” sambucus.
Greens also make a good cover for larger and slower-maturing plants like these King Siegfried leeks. We have harvested quite a few heads of “Flashy Green” lettuce from this bed and I plan to replant this weekend with seedlings from the hoop house. I try to start a new batch every week to keep the rotation going.
While I often stop and consider whether growing my own produce is cost efficient, lettuce is always a no-brainer. One eighty cent “A” sized package from Fedco produces a season of nutrition with very little effort on the part of the gardener. Five packets of different varieties extend the season to the absolute limit with types that will grow (under mulch) until Thanksgiving and flavors to please everyone in the family. Go green!