Lettuce be thankful (for beer)

Last fall I planted Amish Deer Tongue lettuce, which looks like another variety I’ve grown in the past  – Oak Leaf. However, I think the Deer Tongue is better (read about it here and here). Despite the crazy weather we’ve had this spring*, it has held up very well and still doesn’t show signs of bolting. I had it under cold frames until mid-March, and we’ve been eating it since January. The outer leaves are a bit raggedy, but if you strip off the outer leaves (and I’ve got so much of it that this isn’t an issue) you end up with a really beautiful little Bibb/Romaine type head that keeps well in the fridge. Speaking of which, my Bibb lettuce is bolting, so it looks like the Deer Tongue is what I’ll be planting in the future. Seeds of Change has a red variety, which I’m definitely going to get – red lettuce is so sexy!

*Too warm in January and February, then late, hard frosts; very dry until this last week, and now way too wet!

Corn poppies and larkspur are now blooming. Once again, my David Austin antique rose has been sabotaged by (too much) rain, just as it begins to bloom. I believe the variety I have is Gertrude Jekyll (great name, huh?). The wild roses that Em brought me several years ago from Ft Supply are blooming profusely. The pink ones are especially nice – double, fragrant, and very hardy – and I’ll keep them, despite their tendency to sucker and spread all over.

Mike and I are going to Ft. Collins so he can run a marathon this weekend. I wonder if we can find some asparagus along the irrigation ditches. When we were very young, poor students at CSU  one of our favorite things to do on weekends was take long walks and harvest the free asparagus. But Ft. Collins has become so urban since then, I wonder if irrigation ditches still exist in town.

While we’re  in Ft. Collins Aric has advised us to visit some of the local breweries. We may want to go back at the end of June for their beer festival. Good thing these breweries didn’t get established until after Mike and I graduated!:  Odell, New Belgium, Coopersmith’s, Ft. Collins, Conor ONeills and Big Horn. And then there are others nearby: Avery, Boulder, Lefthand, Bacchus Meadery, Walnut, Oskar Blues, Twisted Pine, BJ’s, Mountain Sun, Crabtree, Pitchers, Pumphouse, Rock Bottom, Boulder Draft House, Restone Meadery, Library,  and Altitude (ok, the last two are in Laramie, but that’s considered local, isn’t it?)



Filed under Garden, Travel

5 responses to “Lettuce be thankful (for beer)

  1. howardcampbelljr

    what does the term “bolting” mean?

  2. mbnelson86

    Take me with you to the beer fest! Family Vacation!!!!!!!!!! Just like the old days…

    • lbjnelson

      Bolting means that the plant is “going to seed.” Instead of growing larger, more leaves, etc., it starts putting energy into flowering and making seeds. In a lettuce plant the center of the head starts elongating into a stalk and soon little branches with flowers will appear. I always let some of my greens go to seed, so that I have more seed for the next season. Even if you are vigilant about collecting the seed before they disperse you’ll miss a few, which often results in “volunteers” which I am always pleased to see. I guess I like to think that no matter how much we try to control our environment, nature will generally surprise us.

      Saving and collecting seed doesn’t work well though, with hybrid varieties. You can’t be sure what you’ll get with the next generation – although sometimes that’s sort of fun. If you grow several varieties of lettuce, for example, and they all flower at the same time, you may get some hybrid varieties of your own in the next generation of seed. Some types of vegetables “cross” easiser than others (squashes, for example). If you grow “open pollinated” varieties of vegetables (not hybrid) and you want to save “true” seed (not allow them to cross pollinate) then you have to take special precautions like planting different varieties far from each other.

    • lbjnelson

      That would be fun, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately I have to teach Moodle and Podcasting workshops at that time. But you and Dad and a few other bums could do a “guys only roadtrip.”

  3. lbjnelson

    I added a link on the sidebar to info about saving seeds…

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