DEVOUR & CONQUER

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Evolution of a $1 packet of salad seeds

April 18, 2013

On the very last day of the Qualicum Beach Farmer's Market in late October of 2012, I walked by the Omega Blue Farms booth and noticed a sign saying "All Seeds - $1.00", their end of the year sell-off. Between the price and the potential growing challenge, I couldn't help stopping to investigate.

Tempted by the warm temperatures of a lingering sunny fall and my natural curiosity about growing new things at new times with Vancouver Island's warmer climate, I asked if anything might sprout before winter, and stay dormant until spring. After some humming and hawing, they suggested I toss a packet of their Omega Blue Farm's Salad Mix seeds into the ground and cross my fingers. With a seed combination of red and green lettuces, spinach, kale, chard, beet greens, mustard, dill and cress, I figured at least a few might sprout in time to settle for winter.

 

Lucky for me, the weather stayed warmer than usual through November, and by December the seeds had sprung up into a variety of little lettuces and mixed greens. After a long summer of experimental backyard gardening, I must admit that I was a little tired and didn't give the greens much attention, and local baby deer would stop by regularly to kindly help me out with a little thinning of the plants.

I considered putting the garden fence back up, but seriously, who could say "No salad!" to this face?

The lettuces and greens that survived the repeated snacking of Bambi and friends didn't grow much but stayed dormant all winter, through driving rain, frosty nights, sometimes sitting under blankets of snow, and often pelted by hail (Vancouver Island's climate is special, but also fickle).

 

But when the warmth of spring returned (intermittently), this determined little $1 packet of seeds suddenly sprang back up, exploding with fresh green shoots. By the middle of March, we were eating garden salads at least three times a week again.

That little packet of seeds brave enough to take on winter is still going strong now in mid-April. Some greens have bolted, and been pulled up and eaten, while others continue to fluff up into tasty looking lettuce heads that we'll be munching on soon.

I've never been more satisfied with a $1 purchase, which has produced the equivalent of well over $50 in what I would have bought in bagged greens.

 

Growing a random scattering of greens turned into a surprisingly rewarding experiment that I will definitely try again in the future - a few minutes with seeds, dirt and a shovel can bring something beautiful and fresh the table for months to come.

To learn more about Omega Blue Farm's heritage seed catalogue, visit them here.

To learn more about the Qualicum Beach Farmer's Market, visit them here.

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I love the baby deer! How adorable! It's kind of amazing, because the lettuce leaves were so varied it almost looks like ornamental grasses and plants. Maybe my own experiences will help me be better at survival?? hahaha Great post! And you definitely saved more than $50 - bagged lettuce is getting ridiculous!



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