Thursday, July 8, 2010

desperately seeking salad

So we are one week into my "crazy plan," as one loyal reader referred to it, of trying to eat only fruit and vegetables grown within five miles of our house.

Good news: our garden has been keeping up its end of the bargain. In the last week, we have enjoyed green beans, bell peppers, yellow squash, grape tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, a baby spaghetti squash (which I accidentally knocked off the vine, but was delicious for lunch prepared like so) and lettuce from the garden.

Bad news: our very local farmstand, which I was counting on, has not really set up for business yet. I have managed to score corn on the cob, new red potatoes and turnips from local stands, but I had to compromise on a cantaloupe that was not necessarily grown within my radius limit but was certified Jersey Fresh.

Good news: my thought process is completely changing, and I find myself basing our meals around what is available in the garden. My boys would argue this is actually bad news, as we are eating a lot of green beans and other undesirables (in their view) as a result.

Bad news, no matter what your view: our lettuce bolted with the heat wave this week. If you haven't raised lettuce before, bolting is what lettuce plants do when the heat arrives. They don't deal with it too well, so they figure that it's time to flower and set seed before their swan song. Instead of neat tidy low-to-the-ground heads, they start to grow to the heavens -- the green lettuce to the left in the photo below illustrates the process quite well.

I managed to salvage one last salad's worth of leaves. Because leaves from bolted lettuce can be bitter, I followed Rechelle's recipe for wilted lettuce and it was quite tasty, though as my LSH pointed out, just about anything can be made better with bacon.

That still left the problem of no lettuce, though, as I have never seen it at a farmstand around here.

I scrounged around my seed packets and found quite a few varieties of lettuce... planted them... and three days later we have this:

Doesn't look super-promising -- but look closer!

Still quite a ways from salad production, though. Luckily a local nursery had these leftover:

So I interplanted them in the garden this morning, in the hope that the shade from the other plants would provide enough cover for them to give me at least a few leaves of lettuce to tide me over until the cooler fall weather. They were tucked among the peppers, the tomatoes, the squash and the beans, respectively.

With their own little fleece pillows, natch. Sweet and low may they grow!

1 comment:

  1. I am drooling over all the wonderful things you folks are already getting from the local farms. Up here it's mostly lettuce so far!