Monday, December 22, 2008

Let Us Eat Lettuces

Lettuce is a cool weather vegetable that sometimes does well here in the Fall; I say “sometimes” because this Fall hasn’t been the best in terms of the abundance of great lettuce. I am not the only one with this complaint---one of my gardening friends also has been annoyed this Fall by the lack of a spectacular lettuce crop in her garden.

Although this is not really generous of me, I am a bit relieved that I am not the only one with a sad looking lettuce patch. Since we both have the same problem, we have decided to blame the weather---the earlier-than-usual temperatures in the 20s.

However, I am also glad that I planted more than one kind of lettuce. The Bibb lettuce and the Tom Thumb lettuce (my absolute favorite variety) look pretty pathetic, but the Oak Leaf lettuce has performed like a champ, recovering quickly after every hard freeze. The big salads that we have had from the garden (not nearly as many as I would prefer) have been primarily Oak Leaf lettuce, with bits of the other lettuces, spinach, chard, chicory, and radicchio mixed in. Oak Leaf lettuce has also been our primary sandwich lettuce.

Tom Thumb is a baby Bibb, so it should not be a huge surprise to me that, when the regular Bibb failed, Tom Thumb did, too. There is a lesson here, and I hope I remember it: that planting more than one variety, and making sure the varieties really are different, can save my salad.

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