Hardy Harvest

I just can’t say enough about my new favorite lettuce. Spotted Trout, aka Forellenschluss, aka Freckles, is a beautiful and tasty romaine that has apple green leaves mottled with reddish specks.

Spotted Trout/Forellenschluss lettuce (click on any photo to enlarge)

This lettuce was planted last October and spent the whole winter covered by one of my cold frames. To say that it is hardy would be an understatement! It survived temperatures near 5°F with only the light protection of my Reemay-covered cold frame. But hardiness is not the only thing going for it. It has a mild taste and tender texture. I’m not real big on supermarket variety romaines, but this one is a real keeper. This head weighed in at 12 ounces, and it wasn’t quite fully grown yet.

 

another view of Spotted Trout lettuce

The color in this variety is quite variable. Some plants are more speckled than others. The one in the photos above has very little of the ‘freckled’ spots on the leaves. Lettuce breeder Frank Morton has done some selections on this variety to try and stabilize the coloring. I’m going to try his Flashy Trout Back lettuce this fall. I’m also going to let our best looking plant go to seed and start doing our own selection.

 

best looking Spotted Trout plant will be used for seedstock

But Spotted Trout isn’t the only lettuce that graced our plates this week. We also had some nice Simpson Elite lettuce that my wife used to make a wilted lettuce salad. This is my favorite variety for wilting. Doesn’t everyone plant specific varieties for certain uses? I know I do!

 

Simpson Elite lettuce

Other harvests this past week include over two pounds of 2011 asparagus. Most of that got grilled. Some of it was eaten raw. All of it was thoroughly enjoyed! This is our third year of  harvesting from our asparagus patch, which is planted with Jersey Giant, Jersey Knight, and Jersey Supreme varieties. I am hoping we will surpass our 2010 total of 14 pounds of asparagus, but last year’s drought was surely hard on the plants and will likely cut into our yields for this year.

 

Gigante Inverno spinach

I also picked over a pound of spinach from the greenhouse. Those were the Gigante Inverno (Giant Winter) and Space varieties. The Giant Winter spinach is aptly named, because some of those leaves were bigger than my outstretched hand! Though big, they are still mild and tender enough to use in a salad. Some of the overwintered spinach is already bolting. The season for spinach is just too short here!

A little bit of chard from the greenhouse rounds out our harvests for the week, which totaled 5.5 pounds. For more gardener’s harvests, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, host of Harvest Mondays.

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17 Responses to Hardy Harvest

  1. Mike says:

    Those are some seriously nice looking lettuces you have there, pretty amazing. We are trying Gigante Inverno spinach for the first time this year…just stuck the seeds in the ground yesterday. You do indeed have a hardy harvest there.:)

  2. Robin says:

    Boy Villager…that’s some magnificent lettuce! I have to say that I just loved your volunteer post! I hope I can get a volunteer or two to help me at the plots when it’s time to harvest!

  3. Diana says:

    Oh I have learn another 2 variety of lettuce from you today. I am still surprised that there are actually so many variety of lettuces. In my childhood I knew only one or two lettuce that I seen on the market table.

  4. mac says:

    Those are nice heads of lettuce, I’m learning to taste different varieties of lettuces and your posts help a lot, thanks for sharing.

  5. Kelly says:

    That lettuce is gorgeous. I am always learning of new varieties from you, which I love since we are in the same growing zone.

  6. A lovely hardy harvest! I’m impressed how much cold your Spotted Trout put up with. It is a beautiful lettuce, I’ll be curious to see how the Flash Trout Back looks. Glad to read that you don’t need to thumb wrestle over the asparagus now, sounds like your harvest is now enough to share!

  7. Lynda says:

    Funny! I just circled the Spotted Trout lettuce in the Seed Savers Exchange catalog to purchase for Fall planting! Now I can’t wait! Your lettuces are the best looking I’ve seen. I’m not good at lettuce and really want to master growing it…I appreciate your posts.

  8. Melissa says:

    Beautiful lettuces! Wilted lettuce…haven’t had that in many many years. My mom used to make it.
    Thanks for commenting on my blog. I accidentally told blogger to delete your comment and I can’t get it back. I did appreciate it though!

  9. Emily says:

    I’m glad to hear the freckles lettuce is so hardy. I’ll have to try it this winter with the oak leaf that survived in the cold frame this year. We’re a ways of from those lovely salads you all are enjoying! It’s good to see what’s coming.

  10. Marcia says:

    What a lot of lettuce! I enjoy salads for lunch and I look forward to that day when I can pick my lunch and eat it within minutes. May have to try that romaine some day.

  11. Sherry says:

    Those are some really gorgeous heads of lettuces! And, no bug bites! In my garden, the bugs got so hungry during winter, they started chewing on the leaves of the carrots. No damages done to the carrot though.

  12. kitsapFG says:

    Lettuce has so many wonderful varieties out there, I could trial two or three a year for a lifetime and never makeit through them all. Thankfully I have my online friends to give me some insight into what varieties are worth giving a try. This one looks llike one to add to my list of “give it a try”!

    Nice harvest this week!

  13. Daphne Gould says:

    You are really getting some nice harvests of greens. I tried Freckles last year. I liked it OK. But it didn’t have the crunch of Paris Island (the typical supermarket variety). I like romaine for its crunch. So this year I’m just growing Paris Island and Little Gem as my romaines.

  14. Good to know about the speckled romaine. I had some seeds of the variety and was wondering when to plant them. I think I’ll hold off and try them in my still to be constructed greenhouse this fall. I would love more hardy overwintering plants. We get really cold here but there are a few plants that hunker down and make it through. Nice harvest as always!

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