Monthly Archives: June 2015

Multigreen Lettuce – A Name I’ll Remember

I’ve been growing lettuce for decades and I’ve tried more varieties of this vegetable than I can even remember. I’ve grown all kinds of lettuce: butterhead, summer crisp, leaf, romaine, and head. They’ve all been fine and have grown well, but none of the varieties was so amazing that I remembered its name.

Multigreen Lettuce

Multigreen Lettuce

That is until I grew Multigreen lettuce.

I don’t even know why I decided to purchase this lettuce from Jung’s Seeds, but I’m glad I did. Multigreen is a type of lettuce similar to the Salanova® varieties sold from Johnny’s Seeds and the Tanimura & Antle artisan lettuce that you find in four-packs at the grocery store. Here’s how the Jung website describes it: Harvest uniform leaves every time. Not a leaf lettuce, not a head lettuce, but a unique type that develops uniform, finely serrated leaves of shiny dark green with crisp  texture and mild, sweet flavor. One snap at the base of the plant yields identical leaves that have an excellent shelf life.

Multigreen Lettuce Cut in Half

Multigreen Lettuce Cut in Half

In the garden, Multigreen looks a lot like frisee endive. I’ve been harvesting them while they’re still young but if you let them mature, the plants will be much more rounded. But the truly surprising part is how uniform the leaves are and how easily they can be removed from the core. You can pull a number of leaves off the side of a harvested plant or cut out the core and have a large pile of perfect lettuce. I also like how the leaves are dark green at the tip and then become more blanched until they’re almost white at the core. In addition, they’re very easy to clean.

Multigreen Lettuce Leaves

Multigreen Lettuce Leaves

This kind of lettuce isn’t readily available for the home gardener. It appears to be marketed more to commercial growers for use in salad mixes. Given the ease of harvest and the yield from each plant, I can understand why it would be appealing to growers.

But having found Multigreen, I want to try some of the other similar kinds of lettuce. Johnny’s offers Salanova® Foundation varieties in green and red (similar to Multigreen) as well as Salanova® Premier, a lettuce like Multigreen but with more rounded leaves in green and red.

I’ll keep trying different lettuces but for now, Multigreen and Salanova® are two varieties whose names I’ll remember. Multigreen has certainly earned a spot in the garden rotation and I think Salanova® will as well.

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Photo Odds and Ends

I spent a little time yesterday taking a few pictures. Here are the stories behind them.

Achimene

Achimene

I’ve written a number of posts about achimenes. This year I had so many rhizomes that I tried planting some of them outside in a shady area. I have to say that I’m shocked at how healthy the plants look. They aren’t blooming yet but they’re the fullest, greenest and best-looking achimenes I’ve ever grown!

Outdoor Achimene

Outdoor Achimene

This year I had to cut down one of the asian pears because the rabbits had girdled it a few years ago and the tree finally died. I didn’t expect the other tree to have any fruit since asian pears aren’t supposed to be self-pollinating. Well, this picture shows that something pollinated it!IMG_9591

I’ve never had much of a problem with potato beetles. I know some gardens are decimated by them, but I had to hunt to find one to photograph. They’re kind of cool looking beetles. (Obviously my opinion will change if I get an infestation!)

Potato Beetle

Potato Beetle

Potato Beetle

Potato Beetle

The final pictures show some of the flowers in the garden.

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

Hibiscus Close Up

Hibiscus Close Up

Vegetable Garden – Off and Running

After a lot of fits and starts, the vegetable garden finally seems to be hitting its stride. Thanks to the warm weather and a lot of rain, everything is growing well. There doesn’t appear to be any major insect damage or disease, so for the time being, all is well. This week, besides lettuce, I should be harvesting some peas and summer squash.

IMG_1989

 

Broccoli

Broccoli

Potatoes

Potatoes

Summer Squash

Summer Squash

Peas

Peas

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Peppers

Peppers

Collards, Kale and Lettuce

Collards, Kale and Lettuce

The Strange Weather Continues

Given the warm weather in May, I was able to plant the garden a lot earlier than usual. Things were growing well, but then it occurred – May 23 we had a frost. That’s unheard of in this area, but it happened.

It was the beginning of Memorial Day weekend and I could tell that some of the plants in the vegetable garden had been affected.

The strange part is how isolated the frost was. In a small row of beans, most of them were fine except for the plants at one end of the row. A couple of peppers were nipped, but plants right next to them were unaffected. It looked as if there was a small strip of the garden that got frost while the rest didn’t.

Frost Nipped Summer Squash

Frost Nipped Summer Squash

The only plants that looked really bad were the summer squash and cucumbers. The squash has since recovered. It appears that the outer leaves were the only parts affected. The cucumbers, however, were done; I needed to replant them. That’s probably because they were really small and happened to be right in the middle of the swath of frost.

The other issue has been the lack of rain. After a dry May, we just had 3+ inches of rain and the ground is now plenty moist. But with the rain came a change in the weather. Temperatures went from the mid-80’s to the middle 50’s. The broccoli and lettuce are loving it but the peppers and tomatoes – not so much!

If this bizarre weather continues for the growing season of 2015, it could be a very interesting year in the garden.