Volunteer Lettuce

Volunteer LettuceVolunteer Lettuce?? Yes! It is one of my favorite parts of spring. I do nothing at all and lettuce grows somewhere in the garden. Usually down wind from the last place that you planted lettuce.

How do you do this, you may ask! Well, its quite easy which is why it is so fun! Start by picking out an heirloom variety. Most varieties will produce a seed that will grow again but with heirloom you’ll know what will be growing the next year and therefore be able to spot it better. I use Amish Deer Tongue. When you plant this year, plant as much as you like plus a little more. The beauty of how easy this idea can be is exactly that… beautiful flowers will shoot up out of your lettuce plants you left behind and you can enjoy the beauty. The seeds will naturally develop at the flower head and drop or blow with the wind when they dry up. Hint: do not try to eat the leaves of the lettuce once it starts to bloom, they become very bitter and you’ll get an unfair idea of the taste of that lettuce. Lettuce is best tasting young and early in the morning or just after watering.

At the end of your year you’ll go thru the motions of pulling up all the dead plants and composting them.  You’ll turn your beds over and with out ever knowing it, you’ll plant your lettuce. Next spring you’ll start to see lettuce pop in fun places. The best part is that in most regions the lettuce will come up and be ready to pull and be eaten long before you need to plant that bed with warm weather plants.

Another note for those who are under the same misunderstanding that I was when I first started a garden…. your lettuce will rarely be growing at the same time as your tomatoes! This is fun though because it forces us out of the box of what a “salad” really is! Some wonderful salad additions that are more likely to be ready while you have lettuce ready are radishes, beets, carrots, and sugar peas. Why not throw those in a bowl and relish the freshness as early as March! Later on you can plant a fall set (beginning in late August early Sept) and enjoy your cucumbers and tomatoes with your favorite lettuce.

What does this show us about Jesus? This is how the parable of the seed is more clear to me. Not all the seeds your lettuce produce will fall on good ground. After you watch the first set of lettuce come up in the most unlikely places you’ll reflect that the people that we would never guess could come to know and love Jesus, do! What should we do then? Spread the seed of Jesus as the wind, the wind has no judgment on where it lands or what direction its going, you may be surprised where the good soil is!

Happy planting!


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