Lettuce seedlings

DSCN1184I grow many varieties of lettuce and other greens, some started in flats such as this, under grow-lights in the cellar, and others direct-seeded in the garden. Each variety is chosen for its appearance, color, flavor (especially) and tolerance to heat. I mean, if you’re going to make a salad, it may as well be beautiful.

Lettuce won’t germinate at temperatures above 80 degrees F. or thereabouts, so in mid-summer I either start the seeds indoors, or freeze the seed before planting to fool it into thinking it’s cold outside. The goal is to have fresh salad greens from spring right through until a heavy frost. And I don’t wait for my frost-free date to set out seedlings; a little chill doesn’t hurt them a bit. Heat is the only enemy, but many varieties sail right through July, and August. Romaine is particularly easy.

And what to add to a salad? Well, dressing I suppose, but my salad greens are flavorful enough, especially when combined with mustard greens, purslane, or oriental greens, that they can stand alone. Or just for fun you can add tomatoes, cukes, tangerine sections, berries, prosciuttto ham, summer squash, celery, onions, carrots, broccoli, or whatever you find taking up space in the fridge.

My father used to make Sunday hash the same way.  Fancy dressings tend to be fatty, so I depend on organic apple-cider vinaigrette. Yum, and that’s all I can tell you.

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About lifegrower

Peter V. Fossel has been gardening since he was nine, and has been an organic farmer for the last 20 years. His most recent book, “Organic Farming, Everything You Need to know” was published by Voyageur Press, Minneapolis, 2007. He’s written numerous gardening articles for Organic Gardening, Horticulture, Country Journal, Out Here, and American Profile among others. He was Gardens Manager for The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson in Tennessee before returning to Cape Cod to start his newest organic venture, Swan River Farm in Dennisport, MA.
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