The Salad Bowl

Got your attention with that one, did I? Thinking maybe I’m taking this diet thing a little too far?

Stick with me, and all will be revealed…

Remember this:

Right after the snow melted, I was so pschyched to see how may lettuces had survived the winter. A little sun, a little rain, and some above-freezing days, and I figured I’d be back to home-grown salad in a week or two…

Alas, it was not to be. Something – rabbit, rat or vole – ate every last one down to a nub.

I coulda’ cried.

The fence around the kitchen garden is a little bent and gap-y from the weight of this past winter’s snow. There’s also a spot that looks like a dog – or doglike creature – went over the top in pursuit of some tasty rodent… It’s not quite up to it’s job right now, so I’m doing something a little different with the first lettuce planting for this spring.

A bowl.

Well, a pot anyway…

The very first thing I ever grew at this house was a pot of lettuce. It sat on the front porch for a couple of years, giving us salads for the table at least 2 nights a week for most of the summer. I was still working full-time, and living elsewhere.

We were years away from a vegetable garden…

Lettuces are shallow-rooted, so they won’t need for that pot to be completely full of soil. Packing peanuts fill the bottom half, making it lighter and easier to move, too. But that first container salad taught me a lesson about this technique –

Contain your peanuts.

Potting soil is not forever. It needs to be refreshed or replaced every season. Loose styrofoam at the bottom of a pot gives you great drainage and a lighter load, but when you go to change the soil, they blow everywhere…

To cut down the mess, I’ve used – or re-used – an old nylon laundry bag to hold the peanuts. It’s not a natural fiber, so it will resist rotting. The mesh will allow for good drainage.

See how much room they take up?

Now, just pour in the potting soil. Shake the pot around to settle the dirt, then top it off with more. Now you’re ready to plant!

Sprinkle the seeds on fairly thickly. These aren’t ‘head’ type lettuces, they’re what is called ‘cut-and-come-again’.  Look for packets marked ‘Spring Mix’. They’re a combination of varieties grown to be cut with scissors at a young stage and tossed into a bowl.

You know, like those expensive bagged salads at the grocery store…

Cover the seeds lightly with some dry potting soil or seed-starting mix. Mist the top with a water bottle – or the hose with a ‘gentle’ setting – and keep it evenly moist until the seeds sprout. Put it in a sunny spot – if you’re down South, somewhere with morning sun and afternoon shade will keep it going longer.

In 4 to 6 weeks, you’ll be eating tasty salads from your own ‘bowl’.

I’d like to see the rabbits get to THESE greens!

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