State of the greens

When the Feds started pounding the anti-spinach drum last week, my college roommate, Jenny, sent me an email. “You know, I just thought this is the perfect opportunity for your chard, etc. to really get underway,” she said. “You will need those fall greens if you can’t eat spinach.”

Bitten chardTo be fair, Jenny’s an avid reader of The Inadvertent Gardener. So I know she read that blog post earlier this month when I mentioned the single chard growing in our little plot. But what I hadn’t told her is that a certain doom had befallen even that meager plant. Someone, probably someone furry, bit off the top of the chard in a brutal execution.

No one told the rabbit (not that I’m presuming guilt here, mind you…I’m just sayin’…) that it was SWISS chard. The Swiss are neutral, and so was my chard. It was not meant to be a pawn in the battleground between field and table.

But no one ever said rabbits spend much time reading up on world diplomacy.

In the meantime, much the same fate has befallen the mesclun mix. Not much grew, really. A sprout here, a cluster of lettuce-like leaves there. For awhile, I let the weeds around the seedlings thinking that maybe, just maybe, one of them was a rare lettuce variety I’d never seen before. Then I left the Denial stage of grief and admitted the truth to myself: the cloveresque weeds were the same weeds coming up all over the garden. I clearly didn’t plant them.

A couple of weeks back, I lamented this state of the greens to Elesa, my Pilates instructor, who, with her husband, keeps a fabulous and abundant garden. “Plant more lettuce,” she said.

“It’s too late, isn’t it?” I asked. “The extension service says not to plant lettuce after August 1.”

“It’s never too late,” she said. “Plant some now and you’ll be eating your own lettuce in three weeks.”

While the spinach scare may be, technically, almost over, the thought of having my own greens from the garden sounded good, and I reminded myself that the total investment for a package of lettuce seed is less than $2. I spend almost that much on my cup of plain coffee each morning. And I can’t spring for some more lettuce seed?

As it turns out, I could, in fact, spring for more lettuce seed. Stay tuned for more news from the e. coli-free beds of the Inadvertent Gardener…


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