We’ve mentioned in a couple past posts that we’ve had a fortuitous return of greens in one of our raised beds, and that we’ve been grabbing a few handfuls here and there over the past couple weeks.
Well, this past weekend, after two very happy and necessary bouts of rain (our first major rainfall’s this month!), the greens really took off! So we had to get in and make a large harvest.
The question, of course, is “what did we harvest?” Most recognizable is the light-green leaf lettuce that we’ve had a ton of success with since we started the garden. The variety is called Black Seeded Simpson, and it produces tasty, ruffly leaves in droves and droves. The more leave you cut, the more the plant grows. And as we’ve discovered, once the plant goes to seeds, those seeds go e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e! We’ve got a couple random lettuce plants popping up elsewhere in the garden.
We also have several instances of Green Oakleaf lettuce, which is leftover from the mixed mesclun seeds we planted last year. This lettuce is great for salads, slightly bitter and chewy. And as it’s name states, it’s leave are kind of shaped like oak leaves. Like Black Seeded Simpson, as long as you keep cutting it, it’ll keep growing.
We also have at least two varieties of what we think is spinach. Since we didn’t get much spinach last year, it’s hard to say for sure, but both look like spinach and taste distinctly bitter and spinach-y, so that’s what we’re going with for now. One variety is all green, while the other is green with red spines and veins. Very pretty. A tough call for us to put in salads raw, but both are quite good cooked (and added to vegetable quesidillas!)
Beyond that, there’s a couple lettuces that are mysteries that we think might have also come from last years mesclun mix. Looking at the mix, the possibilities are Mache and Green Ice, or Buttercrunch, which we also planted separately. We lean toward it being mostly Buttercrunch, though the plants aren’t forming into lettuce “heads,” at least not yet.
We’ve talked about garden orphans before, and it’s always fascinating to see what seeds survive the winter to make a springtime showing. It’s all part of the process of gardening. Thankfully, the food that has came back is more than welcome to stay where it is!