Friday, January 29, 2010

The Mighty Lettuce Plant

The mighty lettuce plant is the king of the spring garden. Going out and picking fresh lettuce will add to any dinner salad. The best part is it is easy to grow.

Lettuce came to us from Asia Minor, and was no doubt a weed. (L Scariola) The leaf style lettuce grew easily, and was hardy in all but the hottest places. Plenty of vitamins were available. There was also good roughage in lettuce.

Now, we enjoy mostly commercially grown varieties of lettuce. That is a shame, because there are so many good heirloom varieties available today. My personal favorites are the mixed lettuce varieties that are sold by the Baker Creek Seed Company in Mansfield, Missouri. You can check out the varieties of lettuce they have at

Lettuce is planted by just scattering the seed across the top of soil. I generally like to take my fingers and lightly spread the seed into the soil. The seed likes to be planted in fertile well drained soil. You will also need to keep the lettuce
well watered. Lettuce also does well in partly sunny
to sunny locations.

So, get your seed catalog out today, and pick out a variety of heirloom lettuce to plant in your springtime garden. You'll be very glad you did.

Raymond C. Province, M.A.
Celtic Ozark Solutions

Monday, January 18, 2010

Get Your Seeds Ready

In the middle of the cold of January, the heart of the Celtic Ozark Garden begins to beat once more. Now is the time to begin to get your seeds ready to go. Life returns to the garden very soon.

Most of the Springtime vegetables will be planted by seed. My onions and potatoes will be the exception. Those I will grow from a starter. My Celtic Ozark Garden starts every year around St. Patrick's Day, with the root crops. As a rule, it is around April 9th of each year, though, before the Ozarks gets past any chance of frost. So, lettuce and peas planted early have to be watched.

Having said that, it is still a good time to start the seed for tomatoes, green peppers, squash, etc. They won't get planted much before the first couple of weeks of May, but they will get started. If you own a greenhouse, or have a place that is warm, where you can start seed, you can get going by February. You will give you plants around a 6-8 week headstart this way. You must, though, keep them warm.

I use a sunny part of a spare bedroom to start mine, near the window. It has a clear cover to keep the cats out! As Spring comes, and my garage warms up a bit, I will transfer them there, with a grow light. I have not built my dream greenhouse yet, but this is how I make use of what I have, to give the Celtic Ozark Garden of Summer a bit of a head start.

Get the seed catalog out! Go heirloom!


Ray Province
Celtic Ozark Garden

Ray Province is a retired minister and owner of Celtic Ozark and the Celtic He likes to write about heirloom, square foot gardening techniques and products. You can reach him at or @celticozarkian on Twitter

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Time to Add Some Fertilizer

Over the past couple of weeks, the Celtic Ozark Garden has been filled with wonderful snow. We have had a very cold stretch of weather, so all our precipatation has been in the form of snow. That's OK with me. It is a gift from Nature, and a reminder to add some fertilizer to the garden.

Fresh snow in the garden adds wonderful nitrogen to your garden like none other. Spring peas, lettuce, and onions will be very happy. You can't beat it.

In addition to the nitrogen from the snow, I like to make up a natural fertilizer to add to the garden. Take a 5 gallon bucket, and add: 1 beer of your choice, and 1 cup of Epsom Salts, and 1/2 cup of ammonia (no scented ammonia). Pour this conentration throughout the garden, so that it has time to set in well, while the garden is still sleeping for the winter. By the time you start planting in the Spring, those new nutrients will be there, and the soil will have had time to help break them down.

Happy January to all, hope you are staying warm in your little neck of the woods,

Ray Province
Celtic Ozark Garden

Ray Province is a retired minister, and now IT programmer in the healthcare industry. He is the owner of Celtic Ozark Solutions, a company specializing in website content, articles, and blogs. He frequently writes about natural, square foot style gardening. You can reach him at, or @celticozarkian on Twitter