Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lettuce be happy

About 6:30 this morning I was out checking on my baby red sails lettuce plants, weeding a little bit and enjoying the low humidity and cool morning. Fall weather is finally here. I savored my half hour outdoors more intensely after an October of high humidity and heat. Plus, in coastal Mississippi, you never know if fall is going to last two days or two weeks.

Back to red sails lettuce, a new enthusiasm of my retirement. Gardening, specifically vegetable gardening, was #5 on my Year One retirement to-do list. Green has definitely not been the color of my thumb during past sporadic gardening attempts. My first foray into retirement gardening started with a nine-pack of leaf lettuce at Lowe’s in late January 2009. I had never heard of red sails lettuce when I transplanted the little plants into large pots. By March we were harvesting enough for salad for two every day and some to share. It tasted great, grew fast and satisfied the eye with a beautiful mix of red and green.

I finally found red sails seeds for fall planting via the Web. With my spring success in mind, I planned to try starting some seeds indoors and sowing others directly into the garden plot my husband had helped me establish during the summer. Well, when I opened the seed pack, I fumbled and dumped a bajillion lettuce seeds on to a kitchen rug. I scooped up all I could and put them back into the seed packet. Not wanting to waste precious seed, I took the remainder outside – still on the rug, scratched out a 2x1-foot space in the summer garden plot, and shook the rug over the soil. Turns out sowing is working better than starting indoors. There were more seeds than I had realized, and the tiny space is packed with little red sails plants. Joy, joy, joy. Gardening germinates happiness!

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