Friday, May 10, 2024

Fenton Friday: Adventures in Lettuce Growing

Guest Post by Cassie Peo 

This past semester while interning at the Washington Gardener Magazine, I got to plant and watch a variety of edibles grow. At the start of this internship, I was very new to gardening and did not know what the best edibles to grow would be, but Kathy Jentz helped me decide what I should plant. I decided to grow red & green cutting lettuce, Bloomsdale spinach, arugula, and dill and got all of the seeds at the annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchange at the beginning of the semester. I planted the dill in late February and the lettuces and arugula in early March. Unfortunately, the dill was not ready to harvest before my last day of the term, but the lettuce, spinach, and arugula were ready for harvest. 

When the plants first started sprouting, I had to thin them out so they weren’t overcrowded, and I had to cut back some of the tall (overwintered) arugula that was planted next to mine so my arugula wouldn't get shaded out. I had no idea that was something I needed to do but enjoyed learning about the process of taking care of the baby sprouts, and found that I could eat them at that stage too.

In the weeks after thinning the sprouts, the lettuce and arugula filled in all of the gaps and were doing much better with more space. I really enjoyed weeding and thinning the sprouts as they grew over the course of the semester, as it was very calming. 

After harvesting on my last garden visit, I used the arugula, spinach. and lettuce to make a salad with cucumbers, broccoli, carrots, mozzarella cheese, and Trader Joe’s “Green Goddess Dressing” and it was amazing! Getting to eat the edibles I grew myself was very rewarding and made my salad taste even better. 

I had a lot of fun growing and harvesting these edible plants this semester and feel inspired to continue growing edibles in my own garden at home this summer. 

What are you growing in your edible garden this week?

About Fenton Friday: Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house in zone 7 Mid-Atlantic MD/DC border. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 13th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above (at the top, left on this blog).

About the Author:
Cassie Peo was an editorial intern with Washington Gardener Magazine during the Spring 2024 semester.

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