Planting – Bolted Lettuce Harvest


I might have mentioned in an earlier post this summer that my spring-seeded lettuce plants had all bolted to seed. The usual method of dealing with this is to pull the remaining plants and reseed the area with a summer vegetable. This year I decided on a different course; I let a few of my Black-seeded Simpson lettuce plants go to seed.

I’ve been quite surprised by how long it has taken the plant to set seed. After the initial seed stalk came up, rendering the sweet lettuce leaves bitter, it grew at a very slow rate. Finally, I noticed some little buds adorn the stem. They never opened into much of a flower, a little tassel of yellow fluff was all the bloom I noticed. These stringy flowers must have had some desirable pollen though…for suddenly the pod beneath swelled with seeds.


Knowing exactly when to harvest plants I’ve allowed to go to seed has always bamboozled me a bit. I’ll think the seeds are ready and pick the pod, only to find they are still green and useless. This time the plant itself told me when to harvest the seeds by the yellow tassels turning into white fluff.


I picked every pod that was fluffy, rolled the pod between my fingers, and voila, lettuce seeds. Hooray! Even better, the lettuce plants are very prolific…dozens of pods per plant stem. The pods mature at varying rates, making it easy to pick and clean a few each day. Each pod seems to hold between eight to twelve seeds, sometimes less, but often more.


I am planning on growing lettuce indoors this winter as a microgreen. I also will save some for my Spring gardens. Black-seeded Simpson is one of my favorite varieties of lettuce.


One problem I encountered with the lettuce plants was an attack of black aphids on the stems. They don’t seem to do much damage, but hey, who wants to see all those little sap-suckers attacking a plant. A good dousing with the hose knocks most off the plant. Because of the aphid infestation I will store the lettuce seeds in the fridge to keep all bugs or eggs dormant.

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Projects – Square Foot Garden Update

This is an early morning photograph of my Square Foot Garden. I have to say, hopefully without sounding like I’m bragging, this method of gardening has been a major success for me. I have lettuce daily, my broccoli and bread seed poppies are ready to begin budding. I have cooked and eaten my kale and swiss chard, and though I have always loved fresh greens cooked in various ways, I can now feel a “fresh greens fanatic” point of view taking me over.

The Square Foot Gardening Website can be found here: Square Foot Gardens. Take a look and browse the information and photographs. Better yet, buy the book and create your own little area of vegetable heaven.

This is a view of the back of my Square Foot Garden. I know my pea trellis leaves a lot to be desired, but the peas come and go quickly, and I will be replacing them in a few weeks.

Because I didn’t want to give up too many of my squares to the dozen tomato plants I am growing I planted half in containers. These are doing very well too, the stems are beginning to look like tree saplings. I already have some flower buds on a few plants. O Happy Day…tomatoes in a month or two. Hooray!

I was honored to see one of my Square Foot Garden photographs was featured in a Mel Bartholomew Blog Post. Take a look: My Square Foot Garden Squares On Mel Barthlomew’s Website.

Pleasures and Plants – First Square Foot Garden Harvest

This gorgeous array of salad greens and herbs is a sample of my first Square Foot Garden harvest. The Black-Seeded Simpson and Flame Lettuce leaves were winter sown and grew quickly after they were transplanted into their garden square. The arugula, also winter sown, was planted out yesterday, and had already grown large enough in its milk carton mini-greenhouse to harvest a few of its leaves. The chives have grown in my garden for years, and yesterday I transplanted the clump to a new herb garden, gathering a few spears along the way for my dinner salad. The deep green leaves on the side of the plate are lemon balm. I combine these with slices of ginger root for a delicious and healthy tea. Lemon Balm is said to increase longevity and alleviate anxiety. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory and stomach soother.

To read more about my adventures in Winter Sowing check out this post: Winter Sowing