Bolting, One of the Mysteries of Planting Lettuce

It’s that time of year in zone 6a when the lettuce begins to do some strange things. Lettuce is a cool weather crop and, when the temperatures rise, it begins to turn bitter and bolt (revolt?) from the heat. Bolting simply means the plant is maturing and preparing to create seeds. It’s one of the weird mysteries of planting lettuce (and growing a garden in general) that you don’t get to see when you buy a nice, boring head of iceberg at the grocery store.

The first time I grew lettuce, I had no idea it was coming. I went away for a week or so, and came back to find some alien life forms growing in my garden. What’s more fun is that each variety of lettuce, or any green, really, will bolt in its own weird way. The arugula grows long and spindly, with its green tentacles reaching every which way.

lettuce getting tall

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RIP x Three

It’s true, death does come in threes. My beloved slider keyboard phone finally bit the dust on the heels of a couple of my long-time plants.

I thank you for your seeds, Adolescent Parsley. It was not always an easy relationship for us as we navigated your growing pains, but you will always be my Teen Angel.

saving seeds

Indoor Lettuce was  a good friend that got me through the winter. I was hoping it would flower and I could collect the seeds. Alas, my heart will go on, but the Indoor Lettuce will not. Ashes to ashes, compost to compost. This one’s a closed casket, because, well, I don’t have a phone to take pictures, so let’s keep the memory of the lettuce in its prime.

Ah, well. Chin up, cheer up, friends. As we say goodbye to a few of our old friends (and an outdated phone with behavioral issues), it means we have room to welcome new ones. This weekend, I sowed some spinach, beet, broccoli, kale and collard seeds under the indoor grow lights.  I’ve also been starting TP tube carrots every other week or so, with carrot seedlings getting tucked in here and there.  I’m also eager to try the parsley seeds out to see how if they germinate, so there’s at least some kind of garden reincarnation in the works.

Summer Lovin’

Though it feels like spring has barely sprung (brr!), my thoughts are meandering into summer, at least as far as the garden’s concerned. While I’m going to plant a few more onions and transplant some lettuce, the spring veggies are pretty well square and just need to do their thing.

So, in the meantime, it’s all about summer inside, and I started my warm-weather veggies under the grow lights last week. The pepper seeds, which are notoriously slow, haven’t popped yet, but the tomatoes and basil poked through after just about two days. Amazing. They’re about a week old now, and you can check out their baby pictures.

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