Tags: Australian heirloom lettuce, blog comment feeds, European heirloom lettuce, growing lettuce from seed, growing your own salads, guessing game, lettuce, North American heirloom lettuce, seed leaves, seed starting, seedling, seedling obsession, true leaves, winter blues
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.
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!