by Noelle Henderson
Arugula, buttercrunch and mesclun, Oh My!
Little lettuce leaves are a tender treat and fun for little fingers to pick. Requiring little space or depth, lettuces can be easily grown in containers. In fact, a galvanized wash tub with a few holes in the bottom for drainage makes a lovely salad bowl! But lettuce is a delicate vegetable that will burn in hot sun. So plant your summer harvest in a lightly shaded area.
There are five general types of lettuce to choose from: loose leaf, crisphead, butterhead, romaine and stem. Why not plant a variety? For an extraordinary collection of 113 varieties and blends, see the selection at Johnny’s Seeds or Burpee, or check out your local garden center. For a continual harvest, follow the advice of Thomas Jefferson, a skilled horticulturalist; “a thimbleful of lettuce (seed) should be sowed every Monday morning”. For more information on growing lettuce from seed check out the Garden of Eaden. Or purchase lettuce seedlings from your local garden shop, and use the “cut and come again” method: harvest lettuce leaves at the base of the plant and new leaves will soon grow giving you a repeat harvest.
Entice your little salad shunners to eat their veggies by making a salad bar using your homegrown lettuce. A canvas of green waiting for a sprinkle of color and a drizzle of dressing, salad combinations are only limited to the imagination!