Flexible when they’re young

Flexible seedlingsAlmost miraculously, the lettuce seeds I planted last weekend began to poke through the soil in their pot by last Monday evening. I’ve read that lettuce germinates quickly, but that seems a little quick even by my uneducated estimation.

By St. Patrick’s Day, the bright green seedlings were mostly about an inch tall, except for a couple of shorter, red seedlings that were just starting to poke through. It occurred to me that the mesclun mix might create single-toned salads out of the little pot: one tiny green salad, then, a week later, one tiny red salad. It’s very unplanned monochromatism, but if we can eat it, I’m fine with it.

I’ve kept the pot on the radiator cover near one of our kitchen windows. The weather turned cold again late last week, but the radiator cover remains pleasantly warm to the touch—not hot—even when it’s frigid. The window is off to the side, and when I got up on St. Patrick’s Day morning, the seedlings were all listing hard toward the window as if they’d already gotten into the green beer.

I turned the pot around, and within minutes, they were halfway through a gentle rotation back toward the light. If I looked very carefully, I could almost watch them move.

“I’ve been turning that pot around during the day,” Steve said when he saw me fiddling with it.

“It’s amazing,” I said. “I just turned it 20 minutes ago, and they’re already standing straight up again.”

“Well,” he said. “They’re flexible when they’re young.”

6 Responses to “Flexible when they’re young”

  1. 1 Lydia March 22, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    Lettuce already? It must really be Spring! Gardening is such an optimistic endeavor, isn’t it?!

  2. 2 inadvertentgardener March 22, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    Lydia, it definitely is. I’m eyeing these seedlings and not feeling very optimistic at the moment — they don’t look anything like lettuce. But we’ll see. Maybe they’ll surprise me…

  3. 3 cole March 25, 2007 at 8:27 am


    I laughed out loud.

    I want to read about how inflexible and difficult the lettuce gets as it ages.


  4. 4 inadvertentgardener March 25, 2007 at 9:33 am

    Eventually, it gets all creaky and irritable, Cole. And then it tells stories about how hard it had it when it was young.

    :-) Genie

  5. 5 Katie March 25, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    I love seedlings. It’s my favorite part of gardening – that and the eating part!

  6. 6 inadvertentgardener March 25, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Katie, the eating part trumps the seedlings part for me. But it’s nice to be at that point of possibility…the whole season stretching out before us….

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