Let Us Plant Lettuce

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Lettuce Starter Plants
Oh boy...

Somewhere, Henny Youngman just groaned. Loudly. The king of the puns and one liners -- Henny's "take my wife, please" jokes had late night king Johnny Carson guffawing loudly on more than one occasion. You knew it was going to be a good show with Henny on the stage -- and he never once disappointed.

Although, he might be a tad disappointed with the title of this blog posting.

My friends -- the season of fall has fallen. It's here. Yes -- the afternoons are still quite warm. But that won't last much longer. There's a kiss of frost in the mornings. It's cold. Summer is just about at an end. And what an interesting summer it has been! But -- it's time to move on.

Garden Beds Ready for Planting
The wife that is Venus and I are expanding upon our fall plantings this year -- and there's a very good reason as to why. Have you purchased any type of green in the grocery store lately? I have. And this ultra spoiled Californian is not happy. Shelling our four bucks for two puny heads of celery is highway robbery in my opinion. Yet -- thanks to our wonderful drought -- this is the cross we are forced to bear.

As I headed unhappily home last week with my prize of two extremely small heads of celery -- the following thought crossed my mind. It went something like this: "You IDIOT! You've turned the Bird Back 40 into a shrine for everything gardening. Why aren't you growing your own lettuce? Why aren't you growing your own greens? Why are you shelling out cash for something you can easily grow in the backyard?"

Fall Greens for the Garden
My inner self is usually right. I shouldn't be running out to the store for lettuce and other greens. I should be running outside to the expansive Bird Back 40. And, in about another month, I will be.

We've never dedicated three 4X8 beds to the fall gardening effort. At most it's two -- but in some years it's just one. I'm usually loathe to tear out the heirloom tomato plants. I hold onto the summer garden for as long as I can -- and usually that's one or two months too long. I won't be making that mistake this year.

Though we could have easily started our plantings of lettuce and other greens indoors -- that tricky thing called the sciatic nerve wasn't really up to the challenge just yet. It's tough to think about future gardening challenges when the sciatic is sending "I love you" jolts into your right leg and testicle (back injuries are such fun!). But, fortunately for me, the pain has subsided to just about nothing other than the occasional ache and, better yet, the strength has returned.

Baby Bok Choi
Hey, I used the handy-dandy Mantis rototiller to churn up two 4X8 beds yesterday AFTER I'd removed a green waste can packed with weeds and heirloom tomato plants still loaded down with green tomatoes. How do I feel today? Not bad actually. Thanks for asking. It's a clear sign that the back has largely returned to normal. But I'm still not going to do anything stupid. I don't want to go through that pain again.

This year we are dedicating one entire bed to nothing but lettuce and spinach. A separate bed will hold other items such as kale, carrots and a healthy amount of pea seeds for the spring pea crop. It's important to get the peas planted during the fall. They don't grow incredibly fast as the weather cools and the days grow shorter, but those root systems sure do get established. By the time spring rolls around? Those pea plants suddenly take off and deliver a bounty of fresh, spring greens.

Planted and Ready for Fall
The wife that is Venus and I have tried a number of varieties -- but we're partial to two of them. The varieties of "Tall Telephone" and "Mister Big Pea" not only deliver the largest peas we've ever harvested, but the tough shells stand up to slugs, snails and other garden pests who are just as interested in peas as we are. Plus -- those tough shells are good in spring stir fry dishes.

But there's going to be far more this fall than just lettuce plants, seed and peas. How about a little broccoli? Cabbage, chard and broccoli rabe? Sure! Dandelion greens? Bring it on!

Fall is here. Bring on the greens! This spoiled Californian is tired of buying what he can easily grow at home.

1 comment:

Rox said...

Seeing you post about your "handy-dandy Mantis rototiller" made me smile. My son is a huge Blue's Clues fan and the main character says and uses his handy-dandy notebook!