Guest Post by Melena DiNenna
While interning at Washington Gardener this fall, I grew cutting lettuce (Lactuca sativa), also called cut-and-come-again lettuce, in the community garden. This was my first time tending to an edible plant, so it’s been an interesting learning experience. I was lucky to get seeds that were very fresh and new, so I didn’t need to plant a whole lot to get an abundance of lettuce.
Each week, we’d go into the garden and tend to our plants. A couple of times we’d get a rainy day, so we’d leave them be that week. Over time we started to weed around the plants, too. I also grew arugula at the same time, which didn’t grow as much as the lettuce. At one point, I even had to plant more arugula seeds since we couldn’t see any seedlings. However, the cutting lettuce grew very well and steadily. In late September and again in early November, I harvested it, giving me enough lettuce to make a delicious salad that week.
What I love about salad is it doesn’t need to be complicated—sometimes it’s just a matter of throwing together what you have in your kitchen. I washed and patted the lettuce dry and put it into a bowl. I included some leftover cherry tomatoes we had picked from the garden throughout the fall as well. I also threw in some walnuts— my favorite addition to a salad—and topped with balsamic vinaigrette. The lettuce was crunchy and the salad made for a great afternoon snack!
This was just a great experience learning how to care for a lettuce plant. It was so fun watching the process from growing as a seedling to making a great salad ingredient. I hope I get the opportunity in the future to plant some more!