A Lettuce Less Salad Garden

I am giving up growing lettuce. When I first started my food garden I somehow felt obligated to grow lettuce. I looked at so many enticing pictures of small gardens packed with lush, decorative, colourful lettuces it somehow seemed mandatory. It’s not that I don’t like lettuce, really who doesn’t love a fresh baby lettuce salad? But As always, I am trying to simplify my food growing efforts. There are a few things that have bothered me about growing lettuces from the beginning, constantly having to successive sow and the constantly watering or lettuce goes bitter. There is also the issue of what to do with excess lettuce? I think anyone who grows lettuce inevitabley ends up with extras. I have not been able to come up with any kind of practical tasty way to freeze or preserve lettuce. Other annual greens like chard and spinach(which both still have a place in my garden) can be frozen to use in winter dips or soups. Chard and spinach seem to be a bit more drought forgiving, I can’t say drought tolerant because they are not, just a little less drought sensitive than lettuces. This year I am focusing more on low or no maintenance salads, perennial greens; sorrel and arugula, have quickly become staples for me, they both grow like weeds(literally) I don’t have to prepare their beds or sow their seeds they just take care of themselves and I harvest all the leaves I want. My other non-lettuce salad source is the edible leaves that grow as byproducts of growing other vegetables; Peas, fava beans, turnips and beets all produce tons of baby leaves perfect to toss in a mixed greens salad. I will admit I felt a bit funny giving away all my lettuce seeds to a friend and not setting up a lettuce bed this year, felt a bit funny too. Who knows maybe this is just a lettuce less phase for me? or perhaps it is gone for good?

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