“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” – Henry David Thoreau
I love lettuce because I love eating salads. For the next 5 to 6 months I can walk to my backyard garden and pick all the fresh lettuce leaves I can arrange on a plate. My wife and I eat a salad most nights with our dinner. For the balance of the year, lettuce in a bag fills our plates but that is a poor substitute to the earthy freshness I will enjoy tonight.
Growing in my garden is Red Leaf, Romaine, Buttercrunch, Leaf Lettuce and Spinach spaced evenly in neat rows. I have learned that if variety is the spice of life, variety also spices up a salad. Soon, if the squirrels don’t win the coming war, I will have fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, pole-beans and carrots to enjoy along with sweet treats; blackberries and Scuppernong grapes.
I have created a small oasis in this sunny corner of my yard. A wooden and wire fence surrounds my garden, more to keep me in rather than keep others out. Raised beds with paths of pea gravel between each create harmony and order, my zen. Each bed is filled with rich brown earth that I have loved, stressed over and cared for through the fall and winter. During the cold months I keep the beds covered with leaves and grass clippings so my friends the earthworms will stay warm and motivated to work their magic. I love these creatures and treat them with respect and reverence for their unseen endeavors.
When the first itch of Spring arrives I start planting, always too early according to my wife, but I can’t wait. For six months I have formulated a plan anxious to execute. Rumors of frost make me tremble, but I will cover and pray and hope for the best. I may lose a tender shoot here or there but I am always ready with a back-up to fill the vacant space. My early jump means fresh lettuce and this reward always out-weighs the risk and ridicule I may have to endure.
After dinner, with the color of evening painting the sky, I sit in my garden. It’s a quiet time in suburbia or at least as quiet as suburbia gets. The kids next door are in the house getting ready for bed and the dogs are kenneled no longer barking at every ghost or shadow that moves. I may pick weeds, or water, do some trimming, or simply sit on my bucket and watch the dance of my little garden grow and enjoy some lettuce therapy.