Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Growing My Own

Growing a small salad or kitchen garden is so easy, I don’t know why everyone with a deck or patio doesn’t do it. Lettuce, for example. (Let us consider lettuce!) A packet of mixed seeds costs less than $3. I bought “Bon Vivant” from Ed Hume. It has several varieties of green and red leaf lettuce.

You scratch a little groove in some potting soil in a pot or window box. I use a bamboo skewer for a lot of my planting. Very high tech! Scatter in the seeds – they look like pepper. Brush a little dirt back over the groove and gently press down. Water. In a couple of weeks, you will see tiny leaves popping up. Keep watering.

In a few more weeks, you can start snipping some of the larger leaves for Spring Mix – that very expensive organic mix that looks like weeds in the grocery store. You might have to watch out for birds or slugs, depending on your climate. That’s why I like to garden on the deck; it’s right in front of my nose to watch for problems.

And here are the benefits: this lettuce couldn’t be fresher, unless you just ate the seeds, which I don’t recommend. Less waste because you only pick what you want right now for your salad. You can avoid using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, especially important since lettuce is one of the "dirty dozen." No waste of energy resources for transportation and no packaging to dispose of. And best of all, unlike most other things you pick up off the ground, you know where it’s been.

If you want to branch out a little, you could plant a box of greens. I mixed mustard, spinach, and chard seeds. The mustard is predominant, and I’m thinning it for salad also. It’s great – spicy but not at all bitter. I also planted a bush tomato plant (Early Girl) and I’m doing my sunshine dance in hopes of ripe tomatoes soon.

So right now, the only effort is to water and admire. Tasting summer—priceless!