Sunday, September 23, 2007

Paper or plastic?



I've started packing things away for the end of this growing season.

One way to preserve the harvest, of course, is to preserve the next one! These are sprouted lettuces. I cut the stalks, place them blossoms-down in paper bags, and then hang them up (closing the bags first) on the walls and rafters of the potting shed. I don't deal with them, then, until early next spring, when I crush the dried blossoms to release the tiny seeds.

After I bag and hang the seed heads, I chop down the rest of the stalks to about 2-3" above ground. I cover the bed with a good 2" of compost, then another 5-6" or more of grass clippings. The worms appreciate the cover of the clippings and the food in the compost, and the lettuce stalks and roots slowly decompose and aerate the soil at the same time.

All this nonsense takes me about 15 minutes to do. I find I have an endless supply of lettuce seed, though, for a little bit of effort.

Geek notice: Lettuces do cross-pollinate, though the extent to which they do is debatable. This is the second year of these three particular types, and I have grown and harvested them side-by-side the whole time. They still appear to be that which they were originally (namely, Green Oak Leaf, Amish Deer Tongue, and Green Bibb lettuce), so I continue to grow them in the same bed.

4 comments:

Moonbear said...

You are an inspiration to us all. I will follow your lead with the lettuces, tho I have only 6 plants, and cant' tell an Amish deer from a regular deer...

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

Who cares if they cross as long as you get a good tasting lettuce that grows well in your area? Maybe you can come up with a new one and name it :-)
In the end that all that counts right--grows well and taste good!
Monica

El said...

Moonbear: why thank you! Actually, I don't think I have ever seen a deer's tongue, much less an Amish one. I kind of like the notion that lots of these heirloom veggies have names that are non sequiturs.

Monica: Good point, checking the seed against the environment where it grows. Sometimes that is such a big hurdle for gardeners: they think it's their lack of skills when it's just a variety that doesn't like their garden (no offense)! But I like the idea of coming up with my own seeds...and naming them, of course. It is a dying art, certainly.

Robbyn said...

How neat!...(making notes)...LOVE learning a tried-n-true...didn't know it was that easy to save the seeds :)