Salad bar

It was April. I had planters on my back porch railing. And I had ideas on what to plant in them.

How about trailing annuals that would cascade over the edge of the planter and provide a curtain of blooms across the railing during the summer? What a delicious sight would that be!

Talking about delicious, how about something that would not just be a feast for the eye but also for the tummy?

I’ll make it short: the prospect of growing something edible in those planters won over the vision of cascading blooms.

We had been growing vegetables in our small raised planter over the past couple of years. Well, I say we, but Cathy deserves the credit. What we shared, though, was the frustration that our lettuces all bolted before they got a chance to grow into nice heads that could be harvested. They bolted because by the time they were beyond the seedling stage, we had entered the hot season. And just in case you don’t know, lettuces don’t like it hot. They are cool season plants.

With the back porch finished and planters on the railing, I saw an opening to sneak in a cool season crop. I seeded the planters with lettuces in early April. The few nights when we had frost, I moved the planters and sheltered them in the enclosed basement part of our back porch. This way, we got to grow our first crop of lettuces before it got too hot. And they were looking great!


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About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

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