A woman in my office brought in a couple flats of lettuces that her father had grown. Every few months the father’s garden gets to that exuberant point where there’s no way you can begin to eat everything it produces. What better thing to do with it than share?
I brought home a couple heads that are making their way into salads. People rave about the difference between home-grown and store-bought tomatoes, but lettuce can show similar differences. The thick outer stems in the salads had a delicate crunch without the bitterness that you often encounter.
Talking to my coworker she was saying how her father was getting distressed with the new watering restrictions. Apparently he was used to watering his vegetables every day. She was trying to assure him that cutting back to every other day probably wouldn’t make much difference, even in midsummer.
In addition to salad I made this abstraction using another closeup of the lettuce as a source. This employs the much-overused Find Edges filter in Photoshop, in combination with a couple of other controls. I tried to keep just a hint of the lettuce to credit the biological source of the image. It’s a desktop doodle at this point, and I’m not sure I’ll do anything with it.
So, is this what they call playing with your food?
I don’t deadhead every flowering plant in the garden–That would drive me crazy! Besides there are plants that produce seeds that keep the local bird population happy, and many of these plants are annuals that would only come back next year from seed.
There are some lettuce plants that I’ve been letting go to seed for the last decade or so. I put up with some slightly scrappy looking plants for a month or so. But there are some little yellow-green finches that descend on the vegetable garden, making a most excellent squawking racket. And when the weather turns cool again, there’s a nice little collection of baby lettuces, all from seed, some plants for the salad plate, some to make more seeds for the birds.
Some things I put in the ground exactly where I want them. Other things I put in once and let nature take care of the rest. Way back in the Paleozoic era I’d bought some red romaine lettuce plants. There were more than we could eat, and a few went to seed. They looked a little unkempt, but the little yellow finches loved the seeds and made a ruckus in the yard as they fed on them.
After the next rains, tiny lettuce plants began to sprout all over. The plants that were in reasonable spots I let grow, and the baby greens from them were as tasty as the red leaves were great to look at. I let a few of those go to seed again, and the cycle started all over. Here are a few plants from the current crop, providing a nice red counterpoint around a green rosemary:
Vegetable gardens so often seem to be disciplined, military spaces with their perfectly aligned rows of exactly the same plant, one after another. Instead of that, why not plant the veggies like they’re an extension of the garden? And why not let some of them go to seed and repopulate themselves?