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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lettuce Lessons Learned

With a high of only sixty-one and it being overcast all day, yesterday was perfect for harvesting lettuces, so that's what I did.  I harvested two full lettuce boxes of mesclun mix and arugula, five heads of salad bowl lettuce, and five heads of Bibb lettuce.  The head lettuces were washed, spun in my paint strainer lettuce spinner, wrapped in paper toweling, and placed in plastic produce bags which were then closed with twist ties and placed in the humid drawers in the bottom of the fridge.  I'll use up the mesclun mix first, and we'll see how long everything lasts.

Then the rest of the lettuces were thrown into the compost bin because they're starting to bolt.  Actually, no - they are bolting - they just haven't formed flowers yet.  I sure hope I've learned my lesson about not planting everything at once!  I should have planted far less and staggered the seeding, like all the books tell you.  The next lettuces to sow are a chicory, Catalogna Frastagliata, which is an Italian dandelion, and an endive, Tres Fine, which I'm hoping is more like escarole and not so much like frisse, which I don't like.  I like bitter greens (not too bitter) but I seriously dislike the mouth-feel of frisse.  I read somewhere that these are slower to bolt, so we'll just have to see.  Hopefully they'll do well during the heat of the summer, which right now is not showing any signs of arriving.  It's hard to remember when you're outside in your jacket and wool cap (my attire yesterday) that it's June, but when I went out mid-morning it was in the low fifties.  Warm enough to bolt lettuce, but cool enough to require a jacket.  Not sure what it's doing for my summer squash and melons. Probably not much.

I also harvested a bunch of mixed greens: turnip, beet, radish, kale, chard, and broccoli rabe.  The mixed greens I blanched, shocked, and then chopped up and put in labeled freezer bags.  Then I froze them in my new freezer, which we subsequently stuffed with as many things as we could think of to help keep the temperature down:  a couple of gallon jugs of water, all the butter and ham from the fridge freezer, the ice cube trays, and two ten-pound bags of flour from Costco.  It seems to be helping because the freezer compressor is cycling on and off.  I was a little concerned that it was going to run continuously.  Next Wednesday, when we pick up our quarter steer, it should have a much easier time keeping the interior cold, since the most efficient way to use your fridge or freezer is to keep them full.

Then finally, I found a small handful of alpine strawberries that were ripe.  I gave them all to Steve.  I'm a sweetheart that way.


Jen said...

It is 100+ here and not even the end of June. Don't you miss it?

Paula said...

Paula said...

Miss you, though.