Thursday, February 17, 2011

It’s Almost Lettuce Season!

I hate winter. I don’t like the cold, I really dislike the snow (after the first thrill of watching it fall), and I hate not having items to harvest from the garden. As soon as the weather starts showing signs of spring, I get really ramped up to go outside and work in the garden. Our temps will hit the 60’s today and 70’s tomorrow. WhooHoo!

Okay, it’s not time to put anything in the ground yet, or even disturb any protections offered to the garden by doing a clean up. The temps are warm now, but next week it is expected to feel like mid-February again. But it is time to start thinking about when, where and what type of lettuces I want to plant. Last year was my first experience with growing lettuce and it was wonderful.

Growing lettuce is very easy and trouble free. Put the seeds in the ground, keep an eye on watering needs and let it go. Forty-five days later you can start harvesting. The harvested lettuces can’t be beat. They are so much fresher than store bought and hold up much longer. I find it very frustrating to spend $4 on a container of baby lettuces only to find they have started to disintegrate after only a day or two. The harvest season can last from mid-spring up until it gets really hot. I think it is also important to stagger the plantings a bit to extend the harvest as long as possible, before the lettuces start going to seed.

This is my chosen site, last year’s veggie garden. This year I plan to scale it back a bit and leave more space to work. I’ll put in lettuces early on, then beets (another garden treasure), tomatoes, herbs and cucumbers. I would love to give zucchini another try, but last year's disaster with squash vine borers has left me feeling like it’s not worth the trouble. Right now I have few herbs that are hanging on, some parsley, catnip, thyme and rosemary. Well see if they strengthen up when the real spring weather hits. Until then I’ll sit inside dreaming…