I can't remember the last time that Venus and I purchased a head of lettuce -- or any other leafy-green item from our local grocery store or farmer's market. I really can't.
I know this may sound like bragging to some, and perhaps it is, but it really isn't intended to be that way. I might, however, might be bragging about my wife's green thumb when it comes to anything leafy-green in the garden. Sorry, but that's allowed.
The photo to your left is just an example of what comes out of the garden on a nightly basis. And we can't really get to all of it before it goes to seed. The greens to your left include Swiss Chard, Arugula, two types of Mustard greens, Kale and Collards.
Venus loves to grow all types of lettuce and spinach, and they do grow well in the fall, winter and spring months. But when the hot weather of summer begins to set it, as it always does, the lettuce can't take the heat.
Last year we invested in seeds from a variety of lettuce developed in Israel, and guaranteed to produce greens in the hottest of desert heat. And it promptly bolted about five seconds after sprouting. We learned the hard way that what stands up well in Israel, doesn't exactly transfer into success in Sacramento.
But, trial and error is what gardening is all about.
We'll keep trying, of course. There are hundreds of varieties of lettuce to experiment with. It's just that 99.9% of them start to bolt to seed once they get a taste of Sacramento's summertime heat. Perhaps lettuce does better in foothill areas? I'm not sure. What I can tell you is this: it's tough to grow in the riverbottom.
But for now - the monster chard, mustard, arugula, kale and collards are doing a fine job of lettuce immitation. It may not have the water content of your standard head of iceberg lettuce, still one of my favorites, but it sure is tasty.
The lettuce and peas featured in this colander went into one of my favorite meals the other night -- tasty Turkey Taco Salad. That salad also contained freshly harvested radishes from the garden, and yes, the second and third ripe Bloody Butcher tomatoes to come from the summer tomato garden.
Do those tomatoes have that fresh, ripened on the vine, summertime zing that tomatoes usually have? Almost -- but not quite. They may look red. They may be soft to the touch. They may look quite ripe. But they're not quite "there" yet in terms of that summertime *ZING* of fresh tomato taste.
But, I can tell you this much: It's better than anything coming out of neighborhood stores at this point.