Last winter I planted heirloom varieties of red and chartreuse lettuces and I under planted them with a mix of purple toned tulips. Between the winters sun being too low and leaving the bed in the shadow of the back fence and heavy rains all of the bulbs rotted out.
The lettuce looked good for a few weeks and then it got hot all of a sudden and they bolted. Right about this time I realized I had to ration out the volume of water I could collect in our spring box and my hose was 10 feet too short to get to the lettuce bed, so I decided to abandon it and focus my energy on the concentrated veggie area that was plumbed for low flow drip irrigation I could easily connect to my spring water collection tank.
This winter I decided I needed a break from the constant tending of the veggie garden. My efforts the last few winters have not really brought any great garden bounty to my kitchen table. I have planted flats upon flats of veggies in September and October only to have the Indian summer greenery starved deer burglarize my garden and leave nothing for me. I really don’t mind sharing with the deer rabbits Squirrels and critters that pass through my garden, but it usually takes me a month or so to excuse another big nursery purchase and put out starts again. And then they end up in the ground a little to last and all I can do is hope for the best, which usually means the second or third attempt at chard, garlic or onions happens to late, and they sit out there in the yard looking tattered and cold and glum and you don’t want it to rain too hard or your onions will drown. So this year I decided to wait until we get our June-uary and super sunny February days before I put anything in the ground.
Today was lovely, a clear deep blue sky with big puffy clouds floating through. I walked out to my abandoned lettuce bed, thinking about planting sweet peas on the trellises where the snap peas were, and I saw all across the top of the soil baby red leaf lettuce was coming up!
All I needed was to do a little weeding and I have my heirloom variety red lettuce crop right in the middle of winter. No effort needed. Its funny how excited I was, being somewhat challenged in the seeded starting department, that my negligence of ignoring the lettuce bed after the hot weather arrived allowed this little garden miracle to happen. I weeded the bed and found snap peas coming back too, you know from the peas I left on the vine because I was too lazy to pick them every day. I hope I see some of the Heirloom bean variety ‘Lazy Housewife’ which is supposed to need very little de-stringing, will re-appear on their own in the spring. Even if they don’t all of the plant additions I will be making will be heirlooms!