Posts Tagged ‘Growing lettuces’

Flashy Butter Oak LettuceLettuces started off in the greenhouse and planted out in my front garden about 5 weeks ago are just about ready to have leaves harvested. This is the gorgeous ‘Flashy Butter Oak’ (above) from The Real Seed Catalogue, looking a little tatty at the edges from slugs and snails, but as it’s survived so far (not all of them did), I’m hoping it will now flourish.Reins des Glaces LettuceAnother little beauty from The Real Seed Catalogue is ‘Reine des Glaces’, a cultivar that’s about 200 years old.  Lovely crunchy sweet leaves work really well with softer lettuces and its curly spikeyness is so darn decorative in the garden. I love it!

Forellenschluss Lettuce (soeckled like a trout)

Forellenschluss (meaning speckled like a trout apparently) has similar colourings to the above ‘Flashy Butter Oak’, but it’s an Austrian heirloom Cos lettuce, so will hopefully develop some nice crunchy upright leaves. (I do like a good crunch in my salads these days.) It also looks a lot like Freckles, another delightful Cos, but maybe a bit looser in shape. Seeds available from the ever entertaining Chiltern Seeds. I’ll keep on harvesting just the outer leaves of these lettuces, so they should last me a good couple of months, and I know that it’s time to sow another batch of lettuces right now, although if I get round to this is another matter…

Lettuce seeds waiting in the wings are: ‘Cocarde’ and ‘Red Sails’ (from Nicky’s Seeds) and ‘Crisp Mint’, ‘Really Red Deer Tongue’ and ‘Devil’s Tongue’, (all from The Real Seed Company).

Should I develop a glut of leaves, Nigel Slater has a great recipe for lettuce, pea and mint soup in ‘Tender: Volume 1’. Very tasty and utterly refreshing. I wish I’d discovered this years ago.

Golden Streaks Mustard leafMy mustard leaves sown at the same time are now going to seed (‘Golden Streaks’ above), and although the leaves are getting spicier by the day, still taste great when used sparingly in salads, as do the flowers.

Sweet CicelyAnd Sweet Cicely adds a lovely aniseed note to the mix too.
Front garden lettuce bed with alliums and mustard leavesIt’s so lovely to have dinner on my doorstep, with the odd bit of decoration too.  (Allium Globemaster just about to come into bloom there.)
Front garden veg bed with runner beans and tomatoesAnd bed no. 2 has runner beans, tomatoes, sweet peas and radishes for more front garden veg (and deliciously scented blooms) later in summer. (Mustard leaf ‘Red Giant’ at the front of the bed, also just about to go to seed.)

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After years of squirrels digging up freshly planted pots in my back garden and then chomping away at newly emerging flower heads for afters, I have built some mini cages to neatly fit on some old wine boxes so that I can still grow my favourite salad leaves by the kitchen door. Once the lettuces etc. are of a decent size and can look after themselves, I can remove the cage. Simple to make. All you need is some chicken wire, nails and a 8 small pieces of thin wood (these were reclaimed from a nearby skip). First, cut and then nail the base pieces of wood together to fit around the wooden box, then nail on the 4 upright pieces of wood to the base. Shape and position the wire around the wooden framework and then nail the wire onto the base. Mine’s getting a bit rickety, but still really does the job.

And while I’m blogging, here’s a quick update on the mint I re-potted about 9 weeks ago in March.

Looking very happy and ready to be used in the kitchen too. Spring is a good time to re-pot mint as new growth is so vigorous, but if your mint is pot bound, re-pot anytime throughout spring and summer and even into early October if it is still mild-ish.

And finally, a quick mention for Andrew Babicz’s blog. Every week I receive a ‘What to do in the garden’ list from Andrew. Really comprehensive for both flowers and veg-I find it a timely reminder of when to sow seeds, when to cut back , when to plant out, when to prune and what pests and diseases to look out for. Thanks Andrew!

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