Friday, May 7, 2010

Lettuce Under the Covers

Much of what I plant in the garden is still covered up. I cover the greens to keep out insects. The row cover is not easy to see under so I really don't know what is happening until I lift it up to peek. I decided I had to check on the lettuce today.

This is what I found in the lettuce area. I keep it covered early on because I plant radishes between rows of the lettuce and radishes are in the brassica family with a host of nasty insects that like to eat them. Once the radishes are pulled or are large enough I open up the lettuce bed. In this bed it is hard to see all the lettuce as the radishes are so huge. The French breakfast radishes sent to me by June grew very well and mostly were ready to pick. I left a couple in. Their foliage wasn't huge though. The huge foliage was on the right side. These are the white icicle radishes. They weren't quite sized up yet. Well except for the foliage. I hope the lettuce hiding in there survives until those radishes are pulled out.

The most interesting of the lettuces is Freckles sent to me by Emily. It is an old heirloom over two centuries old and has gotten many names over the years: Forellenschluss and Black Trout being other common names. I use Freckles because it is easier to type.

The Tom Thumb caught my eye. Sent by Stefaneener, it is one of her all time favorites. I'm not a huge fan of butterheads, but I have to admit it is one of the prettiest little heads of lettuce. The one in front seemed quite ready to pick, so out it came. I also picked some Deer Tongue lettuce from seed that I saved last year. I picked the outside leaves off of these and will keep letting them grow. I used half of the lettuce and a few radishes up to make my first salad of the season. Yum! If only I had some garlic scapes I could make my garlic scape dressing to go with it. But with early spring lettuce the "if onlys" are huge. I could use some cucumbers and tomatoes too.

I have a total of eight varieties, but most are romaines that will take longer to form heads. I want to do a good taste test of all of the romaines as leaf lettuce and romaine are my favorite types of lettuce. I'm pretty happy with the leaf lettuces I grow, Red Sails and Deer Tongue, but I really want to add a good romaine or two to my regulars.

I left the cover off of the lettuces as the radishes seemed big enough to withstand the insects at this point. It is a much prettier section now without that cover. Sadly the brassicas will have to have it for a good long time.


  1. Your lettuce looks yummy. I really like the look of the Freckles variety. What does it taste like?

  2. Freckles sure is a pretty lettuce. I love the butterheads, and always make sure to plant Buttercrunch. The Romaines are absolutely necessary, as they're the only ones that really provide a good crunch. My lettuces and spinach are much slower to develop this year. Last year by this time, I was eating big salads. My radishes are better this year, but the wire worms are beginning to chew on them, and I have a lot that have split open.

  3. I'm so tickled to see a Tom Thumb! I'm not sure that they're the most tasty lettuce, but they're so cute I can hardly stand it.

    I got lots of gnats under my row cover. Do you not have trouble with them?

    Lovely, as always, to see your gorgeous garden.

  4. Good looking lettuces. I've always loved the look of the freckled lettuces and used to grow it regularly. That Tom Thumb is a cutie. :)

  5. A well planted lettuce patch can be as pretty to look at as any flower garden (just my opinion!). Freckles looks really interesting. Good tasting? I grew some Merlot lettuce that Dan from Urban Veggie Garden sent me... and I am loving it. Such a beautiful lettuce and really good eating quality too.

  6. Lettuces of all sorts are just down right pretty, aren't they.

  7. Robin, I have no idea what it tastes like. It is the first time for me growing it. I can't wait until it is ready.

    Annie's Granny, I think that is why I like Romaines so much. I like their crunch.

    Stefaneener, I think they taste pretty good for a butterhead, but butterheads are a bit soft for my taste. They are just too cute. They make the perfect little heads. I don't have any trouble with gnats. At least this year.

    Michelle, I'm hoping freckles is a good tasting lettuce. I'd love to keep it in the garden, just because it is so beautiful. I said that last year about Merveille de Quatre Saison, but it just didn't make the cut.

    kitsapFG, I'll let you know when I pick it if it is good tasting. Maybe I'll try Merlot next year. I really could use a good green lettuce to add though. Merlot sounds like a red one.

    Ribbit, that they are.

  8. What big radishes and that lettuce is just perfect! My radishes are quite small... but we're still eating them - we can't wait.

  9. I admit it, I love iceberg lettuce :-) But I really dislike the fact that you can't buy heads in stores without it coming in a plastic wrap. So I'd like to grow it.

    Does anyone know a variety of real iceberg lettuce? I have looked at seed catalogs, but the ones in the photos looks suspiciously loose leafed or overly green. Thanks.

  10. I can't wait to see your french breakfast radishes. I just bought some seeds. Hopefully they will grow well for me this fall.

  11. Your lettuce is awesome. I really like Freckles! Hope that you are feeling better now!