Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Runaway Lettuce

Somehow the lettuce got away from me when I wasn't paying attention. All of it is putting up seed stalks as fast as the warming days and nights will allow.

The Black Seeded Simpson is farthest along with its pretty buds -- some of which have already opened into bright yellow dandelion-like florets which will eventually turn into dandelion-like puffballs composed of tiny white parachutes with black seeds attached.

The cycle of life moves forward and any inattentive salad eaters will be left behind.

The photo above doesn't do justice to the dramatic spikes of the Bronze Arrow lettuce.

And even the Forellenschluss, which I thought was going to tide us over until I could get some replacement plants going, is putting up flagpoles and signaling its intention to turn things over to the next generation.

I've got some seedlings of Red Sails -- a slow-bolting, heat-tolerant variety -- ready to go in the ground. And there is a bed available. Time for action!

In the meantime, we can keep picking leaves from the bolting varieties, for a short time. The problem is that once the plant puts up that stalk, the number of leaves suddenly becomes finite. No longer will it simply grow more leaves to replace the ones that are harvested. All energy goes into making seeds and passing on its precious DNA.

Will there be enough leaves to last until the new plants grow! Will there be a Lettuce Gap?????

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