Friday, 14 September 2012

Miners Lettuce - one of spring's magic greens

Miners Lettuce early growth stage

Miners Lettuce in Flower
I thought I should tell you more about Miners Lettuce - its one of the first spring salad greens I use.   It pops up in the garden in the winter and once you have one of these plants you will always have it as it self sows really well.    I tend to make a cull and use whole plants if they are going to be in the way of what I have  planned to plant. They start in a small rosette but can grow up to 25 stems and by just cutting off some of the stems it will continue to grow.    It does take time to cut and prepare but its worth it.   They can still be used once they are flowering and they look attractive in flower.
Miners lettuce seeds can be purchased through Koanga seeds - $3.80 and can shared with friends.   It originates in western US and was reputed to have come to NZ via the gold miners from California as they knew the high vitamin C content would allow them to avoid scurvy.  This little gem also contains vitamin A that helps the immune system , your eyes and bones.   Not bad for a wild fare plant. In the US it tends to grow in woodlands and I have noticed that the leaves are much larger when they grow in the shade.  So its a plant that doesn't have to be restricted to the vegie garden.

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