AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: Harvesting Lettuce DATE: 5/14/2009 09:20:00 AM ----- BODY:
I planted lettuce seeds on March 5th (or so) and harvested my first salad less than 60 days later. The lettuce patch is now in full production, and I’m cutting about a gallon of lettuce every other day – a mix of arugula, mizuna, tatsoi and green leaf.

I grow lettuces for many reasons, but the big one is the yield I get for the square footage. Lettuce falls into the category of “cut and come again.” Meaning, after I harvest a salad, the lettuce will sprout new leaves. By contrast, plants like broccoli yield one head per plant. Better still, I can plant 6 – 12 “heads” of lettuce in the same area that a single head of broccoli would require. To harvest: cut about 1 ½ inches above the root base, leaving the smallest leaves intact. Immediately put the lettuce in water to keep it from wilting irreparably. I usually take a large bowl with some water out to the garden -- as I cut the lettuce, I toss it with the water.

A friend made an interesting commentary about growing lettuce – it’s one of the few crops that can’t be preserved for the colder months. With so much lettuce, I’ve been able to share with my neighbors – for Tommy and Paul, and for the neighbors that snow-blow my driveway in the winter.

Despite the profusion of lettuce, I’m not ready to drown out the flavors with an intense dressing. I simply season with olive oil and lemon juice, and perhaps freshly shaved Parmigiano-reggiano and prosciutto.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Anonymous DATE:5/14/2009 11:09:00 AM Looking forward to seeing you later. I'd love some of your lettuce. love, Mom ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous noble pig DATE:5/14/2009 12:38:00 PM It sounds delicious and such a treat to have in the yard! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Stephanie DATE:5/14/2009 03:55:00 PM We've only just put our garden bed together, so lettuce seeds will go in quite late. BUT I'm definitely looking forward to it.

I just wanted to comment on broccoli--if you don't cut it all down, but just cut off the head and some stem, you'll get tons of mini broccoli's for the rest of the summer. They are delicious! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:5/14/2009 04:38:00 PM Lucky neighbors! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:5/14/2009 05:33:00 PM Mom -- me too!

noble pig -- it really is!

Stephanie -- thanks for the tips about broccoli. Maybe I'll give it another chance.

Lydia -- I share with friends too -- happy to give you some next time you're in town. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Heather DATE:5/14/2009 07:11:00 PM love all these fresh veggies you're coming out with. freshly harvested lettuce must be wonderful! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Karen DATE:5/15/2009 09:56:00 PM I second Stephanie's comment re: broccoli. Last year I harvested the side shoots from 5 plants all summer long, until there were too many too keep up with and some of them flowered (it got a little bitter after that). Broccoli does really well in my Malden garden! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:5/16/2009 06:55:00 AM Heather -- do you have room to grow veggies?

Karen -- Okay, you've convinced me! I'll try broccoli again. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Foodiemommy\ DATE:5/18/2009 04:43:00 PM Your blog has such great photos and stories that I have become a devoted reader. Is it still too late to plant lettuce seeds and can you do it in pots? My sons and I are creating our first "garden!" ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:5/19/2009 06:51:00 AM Foodie Mommie -- So glad you're enjoying the blog!

You could plant lettuce, but it's getting a little late. It takes about 60 days and will be too hot then. I'd suggest going for the cucumbers -- which kids LOVE to pick, and tomatoes. You can start lettuce again in August. ----- --------