How I grew lettuce for me, instead of my rabbits

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I don’t have a lot of experience in successful vegetable gardening. What experience I do have often ends in “…and then the bugs /deer /rabbits /raccoons /turtles /opossums /moles /gophers ate them.” So I guess I could say I have a lot of failed vegetable gardening experience. This year I decided to try something a little different, and this is how I grew lettuce for me, instead of my wild rabbits.

First, a little more background. Last year, I tried planting herbs and peppers in pots on my back deck, thinking, surely, nothing would be brave enough to enter a chain link fence, home to two varmint-chasing dogs, and climb the stairs to the deck in order to pillage my carefully potted banana peppers. Well, I was wrong, and, apparently, a Delta Force of Peter Cottontails pulled a successful raid one night and wiped me out.

This year, it dawned on me: I have a greenhouse. I have a greenhouse with space.

So, in early March, I bought some tiny romaine plants. (Full confession: I also fail at germinating seeds.) I filled planters with potting mix designed for fruits and vegetables, and I planted my tiny plants. Lettuce likes it cold, so I thought it would probably grow well in my unheated greenhouse, as well as be safe from marauding wildlife. It was a minor investment in a small experiment.

The lettuce did fine through several severe freezes. It demanded water every other day or it wilted. But given the water and bi-weekly Osmocote feedings, it exceeded my wildest expectations. We’ve been enjoying fresh lettuce since the beginning of April.

I have to admit, since I’d never grown lettuce to maturity before, I didn’t know that the leaves would start to grow back after each harvest. I’m not sure how big the new leaves will get, but it’s a bit magical, really. Those with more experience will probably laugh at me, rightfully so.  But… Renewable food! And it was so ridiculously easy to start.

It has since gotten too hot for the lettuce in the greenhouse, so I’ve moved it to the porch railing. I’m hoping the Delta Force rabbits don’t find it there. And, of course, eventually the weather will get hot, and the lettuce will go to seed. But until then, I’m having salad for dinner.

Meet Leslie Miller

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