Sunday, February 6

Rabbit Food ?

Our first lots of seeds will be sown in containers, (and we may even use a new toy but more of that later), where they will grow to maturity giving us some early pickings. Being fairly short-lived we keep sowing new seed throughout the season so that we have something to pick. If we plant too much lettuce to use, the plants are not a waste as they can be really decorative and add interest to the plot in fact many would be just as at home in an ornamental garden.
Fortunately for us we don’t suffer, as many other gardeners, do from rabbits sharing our crops so we get most of the rabbit food that we grow to ourselves. Unfortunately we do have to share some with slugs so it is a case of cramming in as much lettuce and salad leaves into the available space as we can. We start lettuce seeds off in pots, modules and trays so at least they get off to a reasonable start before any slug onslaught. Sowing and growing on in pots means that less seed is wasted too. Salad leaves may be started in pots but are also sown in the ground once the season is underway.
We have quite a lot of lettuce seed left over from last year and as it is supposed to keep well for at least three years we will be sowing many of last year’s varieties again. Repeat varieties will be Arctic King (loose butterhead), Great Lakes (crisp head), Little Gem (small Cos type) and Kings Mixed Leaves which contains a variety of types and colours. We also have a second packet of Little Gem that was free with one of our gardening magazines. Also free from a magazine was another packets of Mixed Lettuce Leaves.

We also have a range of salad leaves left from last year, Sicilian Rocket Salad Mixed, Salad leaves Tuscany Mix and Salad Leaves Provence Mix - these were all sown directly in the ground last year but the problem was that being mixing it and growing close together it was often difficult to decide which were weeds and which were salad leaves. We may have inadvertently eaten weeds. Still they can't have been poisonous as we are still here - we'll be more careful this year!
Three new choices for this year are Saladin (Iceberg variety), Red Iceberg (as its name suggests) and Rougette du Midi (Red-tinged crispy leaves butterhead) which has been supplied in place of our chosen Parella Red which has suffered a crop failure.
No doubt some salad leaves will be added at a later date. Last year we even had some additional surprises as some lettuce had self seeded and produced lettuces in places that we didn’t expect them. I wonder if they are tough enough to get through this winter and do this again.
Our first lot of lettuce seeds - Cut and Come Again lettuce have been sown and  placed in the Indoor Garden. At first the light was left off as we didn't think it was necessary for germination but once the seedlings started to push through the compost (after 4 days) the light was switched on. This is controlled by a timer switch as it isn't just the level of light but the length of daylight hours that is important for healthy growth.
By the way I have added a button on the sidebar that will take you straight to my complete diary on my webiste for the current month.


  1. What a nice variety and beautiful pictures of your lettuce! Now I'm hungry for a salad :)

  2. That is certainly an impressive amount of lovely-looking salad. What do you do with it? Surely it is more than enough for your family to eat? You could supply a restaurant with that amount!

  3. Your lettuce looks beautiful. How far apart do you put it when is on the ground? I am about to change my veggies to the big container

  4. I love eating salads Robin so can't wait to get them growing.

    The lettuces don't all come at once Mark (the photos were taken at different times throughout last year and some even the previous year just to show the varieties that are possible)and we do give some away. We sow in succession so we always have some sort of lettuce to pick. All you need is some weather that the lettuce don't like and they soon die off.

    We plant the lettuces close together Fer but it depends on the variety - for instance Little Gem and cut and come again or salad leaves can be closer than the Iceberg and loose leaf types. Little Gem types about a trowel width apart and maybe for the larger one a trowel length apart although to be honest I rather play it by ear. I decide where I want them - count the plants and spread them out accordingly. If when they grow they seem a bit too close you can always harvest every other one first.

  5. Nice lettuce.... and colourful! I have been trying to grow lettuce.., but success is limited. It is tough to get a cool spot in this hot weather...

  6. We don't eat a lot of lettuce so I usually grow Salad Bowl which is a cut and come again variety. I can just take the amount I want then without any waste. I also grow Little Gem, I love the taste of this and it's a nice compact variety.

  7. Lettuce doesn't like it too hot Bangchik or it soon goes to seed which is why we have to plant plenty in succession - a few days of hot weather in summer (which probably isn't hot at all by your standards)and it has gone over.

    We eat lots of salads in summer Jo - have your got free Little genm from your garden magazine? We have just ended up with a second packet of Gradener's Delight tomatoes. I wish the magazines would get their act together and each offer something different.

  8. Good selection of lettuce, I tend to grow quite a lot as we live off salads in the summer.

  9. You don't want to spend too much time inside cooking do you when the weather is good so salads fit the bill nicely so loads of lettuce is a must! We also eat a lot of the other vegetables raw in summer popped into some side salad like home made coleslaw etc.

  10. I continue to be utterly amazed about how organized you are with all your seeds and names...I just grow stuff!!

    I grow all my salad stuff in containers on my gravel...I think maybe the slugs and snails don't like the gravel as I never get damage from them.....maybe I will start to pay more attention to names of the stuff I'm growing this year as I plant them as I am feeling a little inferior every time i read your wealth of knowledge!!

    I will be happy if my crops look just a half as good as your photos this year!!

  11. Many thanks for finding the time to publish such a valuable blog, it's been very useful.

  12. Morning Sue, I like to see your rows of beautiful growing lettuces picture. Lettuce is always the saviour during winters here. We always have unfinished lettuce in the garden. Due to summer heat, we have some flowering lettuce in the patch.

  13. I love your lettuce pictures. My favorite, that I will grow this year again, are Great Lakes and Iceberg - I like the crispy ones.
    And I think that you can never grow too much lettuce. No matter how much I grow, there is always shortage.

  14. What a lot of lettuce! :)
    We sow in succession like you. We also let some go for the Chickens.

  15. I am thinking of trying to make a bit more of how decoratove vegetables look this year Holly

    You are by no means inferior Tanya - we have been at this for years (maybe I shouldn;t emphasise that so much) and there are two of us and now we don't go out to work either or have small people to look after. We'll start off with salads in containers too.

    Anon - It's my pleasure - literally

    You may end up with self sown lettuce like us Diana.

    I agree Ana never too much and I like the crispy ones too so am looking forward to the red iceberg.

    Succession is definitely the way to have lettuce for longer as it can be a bit shortlived M & S (funny we're M & S too - never S & M though!. I bet your chicken love their share!

  16. Great photos - it makes me feel like spring is almost here! Thanks for sharing your favourites as well.. it's always fun to see what other gardeners are enjoying.. I just organized my seeds and discovered that I have about 2 dozen packets of various lettuce to use up! I guess I'll need to order less with my next seed order! :)

  17. Good effort. Stay writing!

  18. My dad, deceased these 13 years now, always referred to salad, rather derisively, as rabbit food. Late in life he decided he was allergic to lettuce.

    But he might have changed his mind if he'd ever seen the sheer variety you have there.

  19. YRVG - Most of our salad seeds will be from last year too although magzines keep giving us free Little Gems.

    My dad called it rabbit food too Woody! I did used to be just the plain green floppy sort though! And our selection is just the tip of the iceberg (pardon the pun!) :D

  20. The lettuce looks so crisps and ready for a fresh salad.


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