Lettuce that begins to extend its stem starts to turn bitter, so you need to taste a leaf from each separate plant before harvesting. Some of us like bitterness more than others, and each plant - even within the same variety - will develop its bitterness at a different time. You can salvage slightly bitter leaves by soaking in water twice for 20 minutes each time, which will also help crisp up the leaves. When the plant is too bitter to continue harvesting, you can either let it develop fully and set seed, or pull and replace with new plants.
Winter is still wonderfully upon us. With not even one February day above 69 degrees, it’s been our chilliest month is many years. And, with all the rain, we’re feeling absolutely giddy with the harvests of vegetables and flowers we’ve enjoyed, and the lushness of growth expanding the garden view.
I just finished transplanting replacement lettuce plants that were beginning to get bitter and bolt (go to seed) due to that bit of warm weather we had a while back.
I also added cauliflower (that aptly-named “Cheddar” variety) and Lacinato kale which I’ve found best eating both raw in salads and stir-fried for quiche.
I also sowed more peas in gaps around the trellises, even though the existing ones are starting to blossom, counting on coming rains to thoroughly moisten soil for better germination and fruiting once the first ones are done.
Extending the season is what it's all about!
And I sowed more cilantro and parsley for continuing harvests. Cilantro is more likely to bolt than parsley with the merest increase in temperatures, so I keep resowing more cilantro seed every couple of weeks until it refuses to germinate due to too much late-Spring warmth.
Colors besides green are becoming more prevalent in the garden.
And I’m sure the fruit trees are blissfully unaware but absorbing many more below-41-degree and under-70-degree chill hours than they’ve been able to in years.
So, happy time in between rain showers in the garden!
I’m behind schedule for pruning my fig trees and grape and boysenberry vines. With their pushing isolated new-growth, I’d better get to it soon.
Last year, the grapes had their first full year to develop following transplanting the previous year, so now I get to choose which branches to keep for the two levels attached to side wires.
Boysenberry canes are easy to distinguish between dead brown ones that bore fruit last year and green ones that will bear this year’s fruit. When cutting down into the base when removing dead canes, be careful to not damage the newly-arising shoots. Then stretch new growth uprights to the top-most wire; sideshoots will bear this year’s fruit. If you have some long stringer branches, bury the tips into the soil, and roots will develop in a couple of months that you can then cut and transplant into gaps along the trellis.
I’ve also dug in more compost and manure into the holes that I’m preparing for tomatoes that I’ll get at upcoming Tomatomania events.
Hope you’ll come visit when I’ll be at two of the Tomatomania events -- at Tapia Brothers on Sunday, March 17, and at Descanso on Sunday, March 31. My presentations on transplanting tips will be at 2:30pm at Tapia and 2:00pm at Descanso. For more information, go to https://tomatomania.com/ . Click on “Events” for schedule of dates and locations.
And, I hope you'll join me at some of my presentations open to the public. They're listed under "Services" and then "Speaking". The direct link = http://www.gardeninginla.net/speaking.html .
See March Monthly Tips for tasks to consider – when you can finally get out into the garden but not compact the soil by walking and digging!