Lettuce contain them

Over the last several weeks, I viewed thousands of picture of gardens I've taken in the last six years, which is nearly every picture I've taken in the last six years.

I was looking for pictures to include in a presentation I put together called "No Excuses--Grow Vegetables".

Or maybe it was "Grow Vegetables--No Excuses".

Either title, I presented it today at a spring gardening clinic.  The clinic took place at a school on the east side, just a few blocks from where my mom grew up.  I can just imagine my grandmother's diary entry for the day -- "There was a spring garden clinic today at the school up by the park. Daddy stayed home with the little ones so I could go. Such a treat to spend a day with gardeners. After a delicious lunch, there was a session on growing vegetables. I felt like I knew the speaker, but I don't how I could have. Came home thinking about planting Cue Ball squash."

Please don't tell my sister that during the presentation, I may have shown a picture of her garden as an example of what happens when you don't weed your garden as you should. I may have also mentioned it was my sister's garden.  May have.  I used the picture to illustrate that one of the secrets to happiness in your garden is to size the garden for the resources you have, including time to work in the garden, which my sister did not have much of that summer.  All good fun.

Anyway, as I went through all the pictures, wondering why I hadn't taken even more pictures of vegetable gardens, I ran across two pictures of plantings that I decided I'm going to copy in my own garden this spring.

The first picture I'm going to attempt to copy is the big container pictured above planted with Swiss chard and beets, with what looks like some radish that has gone to seed. I like that color combination. I can put the container on my patio or maybe on the front porch.  The weather should be good enough to plant it in a few weeks.

In a few weeks?  Whoa, don't panic.  I'll be ready, the garden will be ready.  Will the garden be ready?  Let's hope so.

In the meantime, I also found this picture, which I took at the Chicago Botanic Garden, along with the picture of the Swiss chard/beets/radishes container planting.

I really like this combination of lettuce mixed in with violas.  I think I'll also try to plant something like this in my garden.

After viewing all the pictures I've taken, I also decided that I am going to re-install the raised beds in my vegetable garden. Last year, I paid some guys to tear out raised beds because the wood I used to build them was more rotted than solid after nearly 10 years.  The crew who tore everything out left me with a clean slate, which I planted as long rows.

I much prefer raised beds, though, to the point that I'm almost borderline fanatical about them.  I will use either wood again, or if someone happens to know someone who might want to get rid of a lot of bricks, free for the taking, let me know.

I need to get those raised beds installed in a few weeks, or at least one of them installed in a few weeks so I can plant peas -- Spring isn't waiting.

(My apologies for the pun used in the title.  One can hardly resist...)

Some additions to this post added on Sunday...

Veg Plotting reminded me that Salad Days are the fourth Friday of the month. She invited me to include this post as my February entry, and so it is.  Suddenly, I'm hungry for some really good lettuce.

If you happened to hear me speak on Saturday and would like to leave a public review, you can do so on on the Great Garden Speakers website.


  1. those are some good ideas. I may try them out in a few weeks also. I used wood on my raised beds. I may regret it in 5-10 years when they have rotted and I'll have to start over, but for now I like them. It is a nice thought though, in a few weeks, because spring is almost here and its just about time to get grubby and start bringing all of those winter dreams into something that might resemble them in reality.

  2. I think it's flowering rocket/arugula rather than horseradish in that top photo.

    We made our raised beds with salvaged roof tiles, part buried, good if you don't want them too high

  3. I love that container planting, Carol, might have to steal, er borrow that idea. Wish that I could have attended your talk, too, all in good fun.

  4. Don't know if you can get them on your side of the pond, but over here we have recycled plastic bed runners which you just pin together. Just as effective but last much longer, especially in a wet climate such as mine. I've had mine ten years and they look as good as new.

    You can just see them here:

  5. I am sure your sister will forgive you! I love the idea of putting violas with lettuce. I also grow veggies in raised beds but I like the idea of incorporating them in the garden landscape. I have done that with herbs over the last few years and really like the results.

  6. Hey, I was just thinking about containing my lettuces, too! I do like raised beds and containers for flowers and vegetables. I just planted some radishes, and next week I hope to get carrots, onions, and lettuce started. And peas! It's time for green peas to be planted.
    Wish I could have heard your presentation.
    Have a great day!
    Lea's Menagerie

  7. The violas and lettuce look great together...and it's a great way to mix flowers in with veggies. Any chance your talk was recorded? gail

  8. When I saw that photo in my sidebar, I had to come see how you had such a crop already. I was a little disappointed to see the greens were not current. It did give me the idea to plant in my raised planter on the south side of the house where I had to take the shade loving plants out after our tree was cut down. I am still trying to figure out what to plant there, because my husband wants to put an awning there.

    My sister has a huge, private back yard that I'm envious of. She can't keep up with it any summer.

  9. I have limited space, so I use containers for my lettuce and other greens.

  10. Yes, I said Let's talk lettuce myself. I couldn't help it. :) If only you lived closer, I have a lot of red bricks. I'm sorry we don't live closer for many reasons. I'm sure you were grand in your talk. You know your veg my friend.~~Dee

  11. I love the vegetable/Viola combo Carol. Did you know Violas are edible too?

    I hope you don't mind if I put your link on my Salad Days roundup for this month. It's good to have inspiration and perspectives from as many places as possible :)

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  13. Narcissus assoanus are especially beautiful to me and I love the appearance they have swaying in the southern wind I live in. (latonya ramsey)


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