About a month ago, I posted about a salad I grew in my garden. This is how my Romaine Lettuce looked then:
This is how it looked on Sunday:
It's now over two feet tall. You see those bare stalks? That's not because the plant got leggy. It's because I've been eating the leaves. Romaine grown in the Earthbox has been one my most successful crops this year. It's also been extremely easy.
But we may be hitting the end of it. There are tiny flower at the tops of the stalks.
Leafy vegetables grow flowers to produce seeds to make more plants. In other words, once it flowers fully, its genetic destiny is done. The best way to stretch the growing season is to remove those flower early -- literally nip them in the bud.
When you do that, hopefully, the plant will focus on producing leaves for dozens of salads yet to be eaten.
The more immediate result, though, is the Romaine milk. Sap, really. When you pull or pinch off the flowers, the sticky, thick, white liquid oozes up out of the stem.
Here's a tip. Don't eat the liquid. The Romaine flavor is strong in liquid, but so is the bitter, sour flavor that apparently evolved to discourage small, woodland critters from eating the stalks.
Regardless, it's great to have a fresh head out on the deck at all times. I can head out there to water the plants, munch on a strawberry, a string bean, and the tear off a lettuce leaf, all without going to the grocery store.
Next year -- even more greens.
Past Life in the Garden posts are available here.