On May 30, 2011, I had the pleasure of cutting some small leaves for a salad. I enjoyed the irony of 'Wine Country Mesclun' advertised as "straight from the Napa Valley" growing in a container on my roof in Manhattan. I once lived in California 30 miles from the Napa Valley and I know that Third Ave. it ain't.
That same spring I planted 'Monet's Garden Mesclun' from seeds I'd also been given to try by Renee's Garden Seeds.I don't use any dressing on my salads so I taste the flavor of the pure ingredients. Both of these mescluns were DELICIOUS and ridiculously easy to grow by just broadcasting seeds in containers and covering with 1/4 in. of soil.
By mid-summer, the lettuces had gone to seed, as they do in full sun and high heat.
Partly because I'm the laziest gardener extant, partly because I'm thrilled with nature's ability to replant without needing a gardener, I left the old stalks where they were. Ugly, right?By Sept. 30 new seedlings had emerged from the soil and I had visions of a second crop before winter. But these guys didn't seem to grow, just muddled along though the holiday season and our extraordinarily warm winter. Today in a light dusting of snow they're slightly bigger, and I hope to have a harvest in March.I keep watching; better than a Broadway show. Of course not so beautiful as lettuces in the Louise Loeb Vegetable Garden at the NYBG, laid out in neat rows, but MINE, ALL MINE. (O.K., not all mine, I must share with others in the building, but you know what I mean.)
This season I'll be trying Renee's Wasabi Arugula for it's spicy leaves and edible white blossoms. Visit: Reneesgarden.com for their selection of 20 lettuce varieties with planting instructions for each.