Monday, February 25, 2013

Salad and Roots

Perhaps one of the easiest (and gratifying) things that any new gardener can grow is lettuce. If you can grow grass you can probably have a better than average shot at growing a successful batch of lettuce. 

Lettuce is a cool weather crop that doesn’t mind a little shade. You can start your seeds indoors a few weeks before your last frost or you can direct seed them. Honestly, I do it both ways. I like to start a bunch ahead of time to give them a jump start on the growing season. Then, about two to three weeks later I’ll direct seed some more. By spacing out my planting times I can ensure that I always have lettuce ready for my dinner table. After all, who wants twenty heads of lettuce all in one week?  Not that I’ve ever done that…ahem…

I’ve been fortunate in that my biggest pest issues have come from the fuzzy varieties that seem to view my garden beds as their own personal salad bowls. Some cheap homemade fencing and judicious usage of a net has resolved the issue in the past. Hopefully it will prove successful again this year. 

Right now I’m getting ready to plant (or have already started):

Black Seeded Simpson

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce is a very popular lettuce variety & is an early producer. This lettuce is high in vitamins & has a wonderful flavor & texture when home grown! Say goodbye to the lifeless & tasteless lettuce bought in stores. Lettuce prefers a rich, well drained soil & cool weather with lots of moisture. In extreme heat, lettuce will go to seed. 

May Queen

Early maturing butter head lettuce for the earliest spring plantings. Pale green heads are tinged with red, and the sweet, pale yellow hearts have a pink blush to them. A wonderful 19th century heirloom.

Giant Caesar

The taste of a romaine and the texture of a butter head.
Dark green, 16" long by 6" wide leaves combine the taste of a romaine and the texture of a butter head for a whole new eating experience.

Red Romaine

Delicious, flavorful lettuce brings color and zest to salads. The red coloring develops best in cool weather. A good variety for specialty markets.

Little Gem


Very small, green, romaine-type. One of the very best-tasting lettuces. A superb heat-tolerant variety that is sure to please!

Loose-leaf Blend

Blend Lettuce

Five classic lettuce types and textures in a range of colors: Black Seeded Simpson, Lolla Rossa, Green Ice, Buttercrunch and Mighty Red Oak. These lettuces are all as beautiful as they are delicious and make for delightful salads, rich in color, flavor and texture.

Detroit Dark Red Beets


This classic variety produces early, very dark red and extremely sweet roots up to 3" across. It's good fresh, canned or frozen.

Chantenay Red Core Carrots


One of the sweetest, this variety was introduced in 1929 and is a large, stump-rooted carrot with a deep red-orange center; great for juicing or fresh eating. A good market variety that is smooth and refined in shape.

Cosmic Purple Carrot

This one is causing excitement at farmers’ markets. Carrots have bright purple skin and flesh that comes in shades of yellow and orange. Spicy and sweet-tasting roots are great for marketing.


Small, round carrots that are so popular in France. Tender, orange globes are superb lightly steamed. Easy to grow even in heavy soils. This little carrot is great for home and market gardens, as this variety is fairly uniform.

Danvers Half Long Carrot

The original Danvers Half Long dates back to the 1870's. This strain 126" was improved in the 1940's. The old standard American carrot, adaptable and dependable. Thick 7-inch roots have good flavor.

Early Scarlet Globe Radish

One of the most popular home garden varieties of the past 100 years. Early, high-yielding, this favorite produces uniform, bright red globes with crisp, tender, juicy and mild white flesh.

Cherry Bell Radish

The classic, round red radish with crisp white flesh that is mild and tasty. Has better warm weather tolerance than many.

 So there you have it. Listing all of this out makes it sound like an awful lot; but really, it isn't. In my perfect garden I would have a lot more. 

Fingers crossed that I can resolve my soil issues and get my veggies to bulb up this year. 



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