Thursday, June 20, 2013

Checkboard Lettuce - update!

When I just walked outside to take a few photos of the lettuce.. I was assailed by the loveliest aroma - my Miss Kim dwarf lilac is now in full bloom - sweet!! This is a late bloomer and not quite as fragrant as common lilac, but so worthwhile in a border. It grows just 5 by 5 feet, attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and bees and creates a mound of blooms in the early summer garden. I find it tends to flower biennially.. for example, one year it's fabulous (like today!) and the following year it's flower deficient. If I prune it though after bloom, however, it blooms more reliably from year to year.

Anyway, on to my real topic of discussion - my lettuce. From late March to early September there is always a tray or plug flat of lettuce babies under my lights. This allows me to have a continuous supply of prime seedlings to plant in patterns, along the bed edges, under my bean teepees and trellises, in pots, wherever!! I love mixing and matching the many colours and textures of lettuce like the deep crimson, frilly edged leaves of Outredgeous with a bright green butterhead. Scroll down and check out the progress on my current lettuce checkerboard.. I could have made a whole 4 by 10 foot bed in this pattern.. but let's be honest, do I really need 50+ lettuce plants ready at once? Nope! I'd rather have about 20 so I don't waste any homegrown goodness.. this patch will last for at least 5 to 6 more weeks.. longer, if I cover the bed with a 30% shade cloth to block some of the summer sun..

Well hello, Miss Kim!

Lovely lilac

This looks like chamomile is taking over the
garden!! But fear not, it's actually just the
angle of the photo - it edges the garden on
both sides of the path as you enter. It's
in peak bloom now. Can you believe I actually
pulled about 75% of the seedlings that came up!
Mildly invasive, but easy to control. And so
fragrant - like green apples! And the beneficials
love it. 

Planting my lettuce babies weeks ago.. 

Done - bed planted.. do you see the potential?
Two weeks after planting.. they're starting to grow together!!

Today - they're almost a checkerboard (with a bush basil border
in front) and a pole bean teepee behind. Sorry about the
bright lighting.. I thought it would still be shaded so early
in the morning! I've started to pick these tender lettuces.

Close up! A crunchy butterhead.. 

And Outredgeous.. the light has washed out
the intense, deep red hue. But you
can see the unique ruffled leaves. 

Totally off topic, but check out this cool
mint.. This will be fab on my deck in a pot!


  1. Lettuce looks lovely! Oh I love lilacs, I grew up with one on the side of my house. I think it has one of the nicest and strongest fragrances of the flowered trees.


Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome your tips, questions, thoughts and ideas (and suggestions for new veggies to grow!)