The next two weeks, I will be starting my salad greens. The one that I start first is my lettuce. There is nothing better than fresh spring lettuce. After many years of growing Lettuce, I decided to use only one type in our Urban Potager. I had tried many varieties of lettuce over the years since I am a recovering plantaholic. I am not joking! I would see a new type each catalog season and have to buy it since you can’t EVER have enough lettuce! The pictures in the catalogs always made it hard to resist. Lettuce is a decorative plant in the garden. You can squeeze a leafy lettuce plant, or lettuce rosette in your garden beds right next to all your flowers. They look just as lovely as all those other leafy annuals at the big box garden centers.
Just remember to replace your annual lettuce greens each time you eat the lettuce especially when the leaves start to get a bit sparse. My goal is to see everyone transform their city lot with leafy salad greens. There are some lettuce plants that can be used as fillers in between your spring to fall growing beds. Just plug them in and eat away! Could it be any more simple to grow your own food?
I decided to save seed last year from Batavian lettuce Muir. Each person has their own preference. Some people prefer the Romaine types, but in our hot, humid summers they don’t last more than a few weeks from April to June. One summer, I grew at least a dozen types of lettuce varieties to see what would work in our climate back in 2016. I purchased seed from a variety of breeders that were trying to grow different types. I grew Butterheads, Romaine( Cos), Leaf head and cut-and-come-again. I looked for ones that others recommended for flavor and disease resistant. I tend to gravitate to vegetables that are not fussy.
Afer I established some of my criteria ( disease resistant, don’t bolt easily or not bitter) of what I wanted my Palm Rae Potager Lettuce to look like and taste, I ordered seed. It took me several years to sift through the varieties and trial them in my own city lot. I liked many of the ones I grew over the years, but one stood out heads above the rest.
The lettuce type I selected was Muir. It displayed all the characteristics the breeders said it would in my garden. You have to try plants in your own growing space for you really can’t take the word of someone else unless they live in the area close to your home. The way this little lettuce came to my attention was when clearing out bolting spring-planted lettuce one early June; there it was growing close to the ground, a lovely lime green color, wavy leaves, and no bitterness in the heat of summer. I had to go find my seed packages, and that is how I discovered this lovely little salad green.
We all need to eat a green salad every day to maintain our health. If you live in the city, there is no reason for you to purchase salad greens from the store. If you don t have a lot of property, you can still grow your salad greens in containers on your porch. I recommend Batavian Muir Lettuce for your garden. In fact, after I grew out Muir for seed last summer, I checked to see if Johnny Seeds had some more lettuce seeds for sale. They had posted “crop failure” and I was stunned. Mine grew beautifully and I thought, good thing I saved seed from last year! This is why we all need to save our seed from our gardens.
If you want to read more about my favorite “Muir” Batavian lettuce I grew out for seed last summer (read more here).
Happy Lettuce Growing! Robbie