Still Time to GrowPosted: October 4, 2012
Today my friend Stephanie came over for lunch so we could work on a project together. I’ve been a little busy and have not been to the grocery and at noon it dawned on me that I needed to find something for lunch. I often have bits and pieces of leftover meals, which are not enough to serve two.
After searching the fridge I came up with some roasted butternut squash chunks, roasted pear slices, grilled onions, roast tomatoes from my summer garden and a small wedge of blue cheese. I also had containers of chicken salad and pimento cheese, which would be great for Stephanie since she is not on a weight reduction plan, but not so good for me.
Based on what I had on hand I did not really have a meal for me and my guest would surely like something a little healthier than what I found. The answer to my problem was just outside my door, my fall garden full of lettuce and arugula.
With my kitchen shears and basket in-hand I went out and cut the beautiful tender leaves of butter lettuce, red leaf, romaine and a couple others volunteers as well as my favorite spicy arugula. A couple of rinses and spins in the salad basket and I had a most delicious base for a fabulous salad.
Growing these lettuces could not be easier. I literally threw the seeds of arugula in the dirt and sprayed water on them. I bought a couple of lettuce plants at the local Southern States and for $1.29 I have gotten at least $10 worth of lettuce. I have not done anything else to help these plants along. No fertilizing, weeding or watering.
It is not just the cost savings that is wonderful, but the flavor and freshness of the just picked vegetable can’t be rivaled. To me the convenience of having the food right outside my door is also a huge bonus. I only pick it if I am going to eat it for that meal. Not like some food I buy and put in the fridge and forget about it until it has turned into an inedible liquid.
I have a much greater appreciation for farmers who toil over the food we buy in the store. Lack of rain, too many caterpillars or even cute furry bunnies that think this food is grown just for them are just some of the problems they have to deal with. There is nothing more fun than bringing a small child to my garden and letting them taste a cherry tomato right off the plant. They think it is magic.
If you have a sunny spot, even if it is just a pot, try growing some lettuce. It is fast and easy which is a good description for a vegetable, not your son’s girl friend. You only need a few weeks of non-frosty nights. If it gets too cool try it in the spring, no green thumb necessary.