The lettuces I’m growing are Saragossa, a German summer crisp lettuce, and Forellenschluss, a German lettuce with red spots. Most of the seed was started in trays indoors, but I also started some in milk jugs outside, and those have the brightest colors and the strongest growth. I often wonder about the early life of the seeds that are sown, and how much the way they are grown will make a difference. Infancy is a mysterious time.
My parents are in Florida, and when I called to see how they were doing, they asked what I'd been up to. "Gardening. Mostly planting bare-root fruit shrubs and trees." "What did you plant?"
Until they asked this, I hadn't realized what a ridiculous, long list it was for a 1/3 acre lot. And this seems to happen every spring. We've been here three years, and every year I think, well, I planted a lot this spring, but now we're almost set. But then the net year, it seems like there's more room for fruit trees, not less. It's like living inside Mary Poppins' purse.
Some of this is creative (or maybe wishful) thinking. Last week I planted three hybrid plum trees- Toka, Lavina, and Purple Heart- in something like the Dave Wilson method: just a couple feet apart so that they'd stay small and keep each other company (Jens Jensen said plums are social trees and like to mingle). And I planted a couple pears- Cabot and Harrow Sweet- close to the house hoping to train them in a loose sort of espalier (or maybe as a two-leader? or an umbrella?). The idea is provide a bit of shade, fruit, and beauty while keeping things compact. We'll see.
All of these could be gardening mistakes, but I generally don't think mistakes should be avoided. In the garden, I'm not sure there's any other way to learn what you love and what love you (and your soil and birds and bugs...) back.
Of course, sometimes space really does open up for a garden. After a bad year of cedar apple rust, I took out the old juniper patch between our house any our neighbors'. I cut it down with some reluctance- I like juniper, and it always gives me pause to remove a healthy plant that's been in this neighborhood longer than I have. But now there's room in the sun for a hazel hedge.
Out with the old, in with the new. Happy spring.