Let us Discuss...Lettuce

Allyson Kenning
By Allyson Kenning
January 19th, 2011

I don’t really enjoy gardening, however I do it because I believe it’s the right thing to do. I believe in sustainable food sources, I believe in doing my part to make the planet a better place, I believe that locally grown fruits & veggies are the best thing for our bodies and the environment. I am also cheap. Putting in the hours and physical labour into a garden plot is worth the money I save.   I do not, however, enjoy playing in dirt or putting myself in the close proximity of insects and arachnids. So I have nice pink and purple garden gloves and I always wear shoes and socks, and I have a nice little shovel handy in case I get attacked by anything with more than four legs.   In the few years I’ve been gardening around here, I’ve never used a pesticide or herbicide, though let me tell you, the temptation has certainly been there. Last summer I had a plot at the community garden, and chemicals, for good reason, are not allowed there. This summer, I have permission from my landlords to turn part of my front yard into a garden, and I don’t plan on using any chemicals there, either, unless I get a colony nasty spiders, and in that case, I’ll just abandon the garden altogether and move in with my dad.   So all the controversy around town about the proposed pesticide bill really doesn’t concern me too much, though I have to say that if you’re a dandelion nazi there are way better ways of dealing with the problem than getting out the old weed killer.  But I digress…   What actually concerns me more and gets my goat more than anything else is the pathetic state of lettuce in this world. Why is it so difficult to find decent lettuce in the Koots? This shouldn’t be hard! I have lived and shopped here for four years now, and I have worked in two commercial kitchens that purchase large quantities of lettuce from various local grocery stores and the story is all the same: short shelf life, lots of bugs, and it’s expensive. What is up with that?   I have tried a few times to grow lettuce in my little gardens in Rossland, but it’s not done well.  It’s either been too bitter to eat, been infested with ear wigs, or has died before it’s been harvestable.  I’m not the biggest green thumb in the world by any means – in fact, I’m more of a brown thumb if anything – but I thought lettuce would be a no-brainer.   And then of course my least favourite time of year rolls around – winter – and not only does the price of lettuce go way up, but it’s even harder to grow when there are 20 feet of snow on the ground.   Luckily, I’ve found options! A very generous friend of mine sent me three of those nifty hydroponic growing gadgets you might have seen advertised on TV that they sell at Canadian Tire. You know, the ones commercials show families picking away at all happy they have fresh this, that, and the other growing right in their kitchens and it’s changed their lives and diets so profoundly you wonder if it’s just a gimmick.   Oh, who are we kidding? I’m taking about AeoroGardens.   But let me tell you: there is no gimmick here. I have now successfully grown the most gorgeous lettuce in my life. No dirt, no insects, no need for pesticides. It does look like I have a spotlight shining through my spare room window I’m sure you can see in Salmo, but I don’t care! I am in salad city, people. And soon I will be in fresh herb heaven, and in another month or so, my dad will be in cherry tomato bliss.   It doesn’t get more local than your spare room. While the question remains about how this little veggie grow op will affect my electric bill, the $40 I spent on seed kits for the lettuce and culinary herbs is already paying off (my dad bought the tomato kit, but it was $20), and should continue to do so until spring. And quite frankly, given past experience, I’m not even going to bother planting lettuce outside this summer because this indoor stuff is just too good and too easy, and I don’t have to put up with ear wigs.   Despite this indoor gardening success, I am still looking forward to planting in the spring. I can’t grow everything hydroponically, and I wouldn’t want to. There are some things the indoor garden cannot provide me with, like getting outside in real sunshine, a tan, some exercise, and root vegetables. I just wish someone could invent some kind of automatic anti ear wig and spider device…

Categories: GeneralHealth

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