exuberance

Hopefully you’re not getting sick of seedlings by now.  I just had to share.  Doesn’t he look like he’s spreading his arms to embrace the world with joy?

I mean, if you ignore the fact that his hands are about 30 times the size of his head.

Maybe I’m interpreting a little too much into these things….

For a gardener stuck indoors, with a dismal view of a flood-decimated garden, these are almost like my babies right now.  I dote on them way too much, bending over the dining table to adjust their lighting, separating them when they get into tangles (as today after a brief field trip into the weak winter sun at midday for 20 minutes, before realizing the wind was becoming too fierce and rescuing them), testing their moisture levels multiple times per day, rotating the trays if they begin to lean a little too much, and whispering sweet nothings to them before I put them to bed each night.

That little furled guy in the middle is the first “true” leaf coming out, as opposed to the seed leaves.  That means these tiny plants are starting to be able to synthesize their own food and not rely on the energy stored in the seed.

It makes a mama so proud, to see them getting independent.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

Truthfully, I’m just thrilled to see the first true leaves coming because I’ll finally get to see the individual leaf forms of the lettuces I planted.  Seed leaves all look remarkably similar within a family.

Although F. can already easily recognize his favorites, “the European ones,” no matter how I’ve rearranged the tray, whether or not the label is showing, and a few times at dinner has pointed out how robust and healthy they are, i.e. with large, rounded, darker green seed leaves and short, sturdy stems.  As opposed to, say, the Australian ones (tall and pale and just a bit sparkly) or the North American ones (one of which is tall and bright green, with svelte, narrow leaves, but somehow weak-looking overall, and the other of which is average height, but with amazing, hyper-growing leaves, already displaying a texture reminiscent of actual lettuce).

If I’m being 100% honest with y’all, though, I’m not sure those descriptions couldn’t be easily applied to each variety.  They’re all a bit sparkly at the moment.  The Australian ones just play with the light a bit more.  (I call them my glamor girls.)

And they all have a tall and spindly, newborn-colt look; it’s just that some are taller than others, and some are even taller than those.

And all of their leaves hint vaguely at the lettuce to come.  However, some of them do their hinting with a wink and a nudge added.

I think you’re getting the idea.  It’s all a matter of comparison really.

To prove my point, I’m curious to see if my readers can identify which seedling is shown in the picture above, based on my descriptions.  What do you think?  Is it a North American, Australian, or European variety of lettuce?

(If you’re betting averages, of course, you’d pick North American, and give yourself two chances out of four.  So I’ll just go ahead and tell you that this is not the weak-looking North American variety, thus evening the odds.)

I’ll reveal the answer in a follow-up comment and in the next post, just for those of you who, like me, sometimes find it hard to keep track of conversations unfolding in blog comment feeds.

Let the guessing game begin!

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23 Responses to “exuberance”

  1. Enjoyed your blog entry … I think we can all relate to the concerned mama looking after her seedling babies! It is a thrill when they sprout and we just want to do the best job we can to enable them to thrive … don’t apologise … we all do it!

    I’m going to bet it’s an Aussie …. but then I’m an Aussie and it’s Australia Day! … what are the odds I’d say anything else!

  2. Oh my – I don’t know! And couldn’t even guess. I just like to eat lettuce and not that iceberg stuff either. (Unless it is a wedge of it covered with crisp bacon crumbles and bleu cheese dressing.) 🙂

  3. Nice post, M.E. I love lettuce, but haven’t yet included it in our flower garden. Your post is encouraging me to consider it. Haven’t got a clue what variety of lettuce is in the emerging seedling photo, but my guess would be European – on totally no evidence whatsoever 🙂 Hank

    • Oh, Hank, I hope you do consider it. Some of the forms are really quite lovely. Also, mustards, arugula, nasturtiums, and parsley can be quite ornamental, and you can use all of them in salads. 🙂

  4. oh i do adore seedlings!!! but i miss your writing blog too! loveliest wishes

    • Chenoa, that is so sweet. I will continue with the other blog, I promise. I’ve just been focused on this one and on some other ongoing issues in my life and haven’t quite managed a decent post over there in… oh my goodness, it’s been over a week!

      Your comment made me smile. Sometimes it’s good to know we’re missed. Thanks. 🙂

  5. Very, healthy looking lettuce. I’d say the lettuce is European. Nice round looking leaves, but round is probably relative, second guess Australian- hee, hee only 2 choices 🙂

  6. I think that little seedlings are a lot like babies, puppies and kittens. They are so small, cute and fragile that it makes you want to shelter and take care of them as you watch them grow.

    • I think you have nailed it, Noelle. That is precisely how I feel about them. Their fragility especially is motivating. (Altho I might feel it even more with a wee kitten or pup…)

  7. There’s not enough leaf there for me to hazard a guess. Whatever variety it is, I am sure it will be tasty when it “grows up”. And you can never make me sick of seedlings, or of lettuce. I am guessing I had a couple hundred lettuce plants last year, and I loved every one of them! It’s time for me to sow some more myself.

  8. It’s so sweet and perky and bursting with life. It looks joyful!

  9. I love your presentation M.E. … your verdant seedling growing out of your chocolate background color… Of course you treat them like babies as they are tiny life that you are nurturing. I always enjoy your writing too… sorry about the guessing not… I am too tired to think that much right now. Lovely post! ;>) Carol

    • Thank you for the compliments, Carol. I’m so glad you liked the photo and the words. Don’t worry about the guessing. It was just to satisfy my own curiosity. 🙂

  10. My dad used to grow the softest butter lettuce. I loved it.

  11. Just a follow-up, everyone, to let you know that the seedling pictured is Cracoviensis, an heirloom Eastern European lettuce.

    That means Hank and Gloria, you guessed correctly. 🙂

    And to the Australians, a belated Happy Australia Day! I ought to have pictured the blonde cutie Australian lettuce in honor of your holiday. My only defense… I wrote the post before realizing it was to be your special day. Looks like it was a fun one, from visiting all the various blogs Down Under!

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