Cutting lettuce with scissors
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Cutting lettuce with scissors

I find the best way to harvest lettuce is to cut it as needed. The lettuce will continue to grow and can be cut at least two more times.

Greetings fellow gardeners, 

Summer continues the rollercoaster ride of weather. I needed to buy some plants for one of my clients, so I had the joyous job of visiting a local nursery. This time of year, nurseries are preparing for the push for fall colour. Many of the herbs were on sale and gave me the opportunity to replace and refresh some of my herb planters.

Herbs

If you have not been trimming your basil and it has started to go to seed, now is a good time to pick up a few new basil plants. Basil that starts to go to seed becomes tough and bitter, not what you want for your pesto.  With all the herbs being on sale, I picked up a few extras for myself. Herbs can fill in your vegetable garden very nicely.

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is an herb that I quite enjoy and always forget about until I find it later in the summer. It is a very tender perennial that I treat as an annual. The scent is amazing! Such a clear lemon scent. This herb makes a lovely tea or can be used in cooking, in soups and with fish. I also picked up a stevia plant. Stevia is a great sugar substitute; I use it every morning in my coffee. If you take a tiny nibble on a stevia leaf you will be amazed at the sweetness. It can be dried and stored for the winter.

If the swallowtail butterfly caterpillar found your dill, you can easily add a few more plants in preparation for pickle season. Dill is a wonderful herb in your vegetable garden. As I mentioned it is a preferred plant for the swallowtail butterfly caterpillar, and it is very tasty in summer dishes. Dill will readily self-seed in your garden so you can enjoy it every year. 

  Lemongrass and Stevia

Vegetables

The tomatoes are slowly turning colour, as are the peppers. They are worth the long wait. The brussels sprouts have been eaten by cabbage worms. No matter how often I pick off the worms, and feed them to the chickens, more worms arrive to take their place. It is doubtful that my brussels sprouts will recover from this assault. I have learned from this that I will need to use floating row covers on them next year. So disappointing.

Cutting lettuce

My pot of lettuce is doing really well, and the spiky mat has prevented the squirrels from digging it up.  There are two ways to pick lettuce. You can pull the entire plant out as you need it.

  Lettuce pulled

I find the best way to harvest lettuce is to cut it as needed. The lettuce will continue to grow and can be cut at least two more times. If you are using a heritage lettuce, let one of your plants go to seed so that you can collect seed for next year.

  Cutting lettuce with scissors

While I will get a few salads out of this lettuce, now is the time for me to plant another pot. I like to plant lettuce in succession so that I get fresh greens right up to the frost.

Now is the time to take stock of your vegetable garden. Do you need more plants or seeds? Are there places where fresh herbs would be helpful? Perhaps a visit to your local nursery is in order. Enjoy your week.  Judith.

Contact Judith through her Website https://www.lapisdragonarts.com/.

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