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Bad lettuce

By Penny Stine

Yes, I know, it's not the lettuce's fault that it's bad. As a responsible gardener, it's my duty to provide the right growing conditions if I want a specific crop to be good.
I planted this lettuce at the beginning of fall, thinking that it would be quite happy in the cooler weather. It's a butter crunch type of lettuce, which I've grown in the past and which has been sweet. Sometimes.
I thought it was the hot weather that made my lettuce so awful, but after tasting this lettuce, I realized it was probably a lack of water, since I try to water about once every three days during growing season. I didn't water as much in the fall as we were nearing the end of irrigation season, and this lettuce hasn't received any extra watering from me since the irrigation water has been off.
After picking a few leaves (which I was hoping to add to my pea shoot salad), I tasted them and discovered they were bitter beyond belief. So they went in the compost bin. I left the lettuce in the ground out of curiosity, just to see if the cold weather kills it or weather it will survive the winter. You never know…
But I did learn that next spring, I should plant lettuce next to the newly seeded carrots, which I always water more often than other parts of the garden to encourage those little carrot seeds to sprout. Of course, the lettuce will probably bolt by July and the tomatoes won't get ripe until August, but maybe I'll have a couple early season salads.  

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