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City dwellers need to grow their own Salad Greens and you need to start them inside to get a head start. Let’s get growing!

IMG_1801 lettu e

The next two weeks, I will be starting my salad greens. The one that I start first is my lettuce. There is nothing better than fresh spring lettuce. After many years of growing Lettuce, I decided to use only one type in our Urban Potager. I had tried many varieties of lettuce over the years since I am a recovering plantaholic. I am not joking! I would see a new type each catalog season and have to buy it since you can’t EVER  have enough lettuce! The pictures in the catalogs always made it hard to resist. Lettuce is a decorative plant in the garden. You can squeeze a leafy lettuce plant, or lettuce rosette in your garden beds right next to all your flowers. They look just as lovely as all those other leafy annuals at the big box garden centers.

Just remember to replace your annual lettuce greens each time you eat the lettuce especially when the leaves start to get a bit sparse.  My goal is to see everyone transform their city lot with leafy salad greens. There are some lettuce plants that can be used as fillers in between your spring to fall growing beds. Just plug them in and eat away! Could it be any more simple to grow your own food?


If you are growing organically look for OMRI listed materials.

I decided to save seed last year from Batavian lettuce Muir. Each person has their own preference. Some people prefer the Romaine types, but in our hot, humid summers they don’t last more than a few weeks from April to June. One summer, I grew at least a dozen types of lettuce varieties to see what would work in our climate back in 2016. I purchased seed from a variety of breeders that were trying to grow different types. I grew Butterheads, Romaine( Cos), Leaf  head and cut-and-come-again. I looked for ones that others recommended for flavor and disease resistant. I tend to gravitate to vegetables that are not fussy.


Afer I established some of my criteria ( disease resistant, don’t bolt easily or not bitter) of what I wanted my Palm Rae Potager Lettuce to look like and taste, I ordered seed.  It took me several years to sift through the varieties and trial them in my own city lot.  I liked many of the ones I grew over the years,  but one stood out heads above the rest.

The lettuce type I selected was Muir. It displayed all the characteristics the breeders said it would in my garden. You have to try plants in your own growing space for you really can’t take the word of someone else unless they live in the area close to your home.  The way this little lettuce came to my attention was when clearing out bolting spring-planted lettuce one early June; there it was growing close to the ground,  a lovely lime green color, wavy leaves, and no bitterness in the heat of summer.  I had to go find my seed packages, and that is how I discovered this lovely little salad green.


Muir Lettuce growing Summer 2017

We all need to eat a  green salad every day to maintain our health. If you live in the city, there is no reason for you to purchase salad greens from the store.  If you don t have a lot of property, you can still grow your salad greens in containers on your porch. I recommend Batavian Muir Lettuce for your garden. In fact, after I grew out Muir for seed last summer, I checked to see if Johnny Seeds had some more lettuce seeds for sale. They had posted “crop failure” and I was stunned. Mine grew beautifully and I thought, good thing I saved seed from last year! This is why we all need to save our seed from our gardens.

If you want to read more about my favorite “Muir” Batavian lettuce I grew out for seed last summer (read more here).

Happy Lettuce Growing! Robbie





12 replies »

  1. You are an inspiration with all your lovely salads Robbie. I am going to try and do better with my continuity this year as it is always either lettuce feast or famine with me. How often do you sow? ‘Muir’ doesn’t seem to be available in the UK, how odd.

    • I recommend the Batavian types. I would look for ones in your country that are Batavian types and trial them to see if they work for you in your climate. I am working on winter ones that can take me through dec-march undercover. That will be my new project this year:-) I really want lettuce greens all year long. They are such an easy green and I know some winter types can handle the severe cold with minimal cover. I copied the portion on Batavian Lettuce they researched at Colorado State University. The Batavian stand out as the most resistant to bolting. We have a real problem here in our climate, but once I found Muir, it gave me one to try and save the seed. My fingers are crossed that my seed will perform better-I’ll keep you posted! ( here is full article)


      These lettuces stand out as the most resistant to bolting. All of the varieties held throughout the season and were harvestable for many weeks. The crisp texture and good flavor are added bonuses. Flea beetle damage and tip burn were significant in the early plantings, but other diseases and pest pressures were minimal.

      Sierra, Nevada, Tahoe, and Rouge de Grenoblouse Batavian lettuce varieties Nevada
      Tahoe Rouge de Grenoblouse

      Nevada (V) – Green. Very long holding, none has bolted in the trials, good quality, thick and crisp leaves, flea beetle damage outer leaves

      Rouge de Grenoblouse (SOC) – Red, savoyed leaves, tip burn is significant.

      Sierra (V) – Very long holding, none has bolted in the trials, good quality, thick and crisp leaves, flea beetle damage outer leaves

      Tahoe (V) – Very long holding, none has bolted in the trials, good quality, thick and crisp leaves, flea beetle damage outer leave

    • So true!!! I just started mine this week and I can’t wait for spring greens. Plus, I have my pansies going for salad flowers-LOL Love pretty salads!

  2. I think I’ll have to start my lettuce indoors in the end of summer and plant out for fall/winter. We’re already hitting 80 some days and lettuce doesn’t much like it past that around here. My cauliflower tried rotting on me so I picked it small.

  3. 80 degrees! I have to remember you are in Texas:-) I have found that I need to start my salad greens mid summer here and lace out towards the end of summer early fall. I can’t start them outside they never get large enough to amount to anything for a salad. If I start them earlier and in a protected area from the early fall heat we get sometimes they survive.
    You are smart to observe your own growing zone area as well as your own microclimate on your own property. We really do get to know our own soil and conditions:-) If one takes the time to observe and work with the conditions.
    Picking it small before rotting, now that is smart! We can grow all kinds of foods just need to reduce our expectations as to how it needs to look-never will look like the grocery store-LOL

  4. Hello from France! I enjoyed reading your post on lettuce and chuckled about your comments about being a recovering plantaholic (I am still one!) I grow Rouge de Grenoble very successfully but flea beetles are a menace in early plantings. Like Chloris I have looked for Muir and cannot find it here, but your comments have got me looking at other varieties of Batavias. Thanks and good luck with the new planting season.

    • Good Morning from my Garden to yours!!I would love to send you some of my seed, but I don’t know if I can since there are so many laws. If you feel I can, I would be more than glad to send you some seed:-) Good thing I saved seed this year for at Johnny seed they had a crop failure.
      check this out-

      SOOO glad I saved seed. I would not be growing it this year! This is a good reason to save seed for it can disappear so easily.

      I did find some other types at FEDCO that I had in my garden a few years ago. I believe the key is to save your seed for it acclimates to your own growing area.
      I started my seed a few weeks ago and my saved “Muir” lettuce seed germinated in less than 48 hours. I kid you not:-) I was stunned. There is something to keeping your seed.
      I did look for some in Europe but found hybrid which you need open-pollinated. However, we have FEDCO in our country, and it is run by growers, and much of the seed is grown by small farms. If the seed has a 1 at the bottom, it is produced by small farms. I try to support seed growers keeping old varieties alive. They may ship to Europe.

      I will post an update on how my own seed performed in the garden. It will be my first crop of saved seed. I live in the city so good thing Lettuce does not need miles to isolate for seed saving-LOL…Happy Gardening!

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