Don’t you just love surprises? When occurring at the right situation and at the right time, chances are they leave you quite happy.  But happy is an understatement today, ecstatic is more like it. Why am I ecstatic you ask? Well, who wouldn’t be if their bed of last year’s lettuce not only survived Winter but is also trucking through Spring like nobody’s business?

In the mix you’ll find mostly four seasons, beleah rose, little gem, crisp mint (from overwintered roots) and red streaked mizuna (from volunteer seeds).

Perennial lettuce grown in upstate New York? Could it be? Well given the freezing temps we’ve had the past several months, I’m gonna go ahead and say yes. Granted, the leaves dying down and being left there covering the soil no doubt gave the roots a little protection from the elements, but still…

Long story short, I started these from seeds last Spring by directly sowing them to the bed with no particular plan in mind. Along with the arugula they grew beautifully and went to seed sometime early to mid July but kept on growing through the early frosts of Fall (I removed the flower stalks from all but the arugula and mizuna greens). When during Winter the ones left standing died back from our few blizzards, many heavy snowfalls and freezing temps, I thought for sure that that was it. So much so that I even started a new round of seeds which I planned on growing in a completely separate location in the garden altogether. I was wrong. ‘Cause here they are again. But I’m not complaining, rather I’m so pretty pleased with their persistence and audacity because it just means that I’ll have more salads to eat and share.

Get a load of those roots though. Perfectly mature and ready to support the healthy growth of each individual plant. And if you look closely enough you’ll see the ends of what used to be the older leaves; they’re the ones that look sort of chewed on.

And the ones that didn’t come back left us the gift of pretty little seedings with vigorous growth habits.

There was only one problem though, their current state was somewhat unsightly and their mish-mash placement had to be addressed. So we simply dug them up and planted them in the cutest of rows that we could create. We even threw some carrot seeds and onion seedlings in there just for fun.

They seem to do best when grown this way as, compared to the ones from last year, these babies are huge. But that could also be because they had a head start and they also have more growing space.

Now not only have my seemingly perennial lettuce and their volunteer friends come in pretty handy in enhancing the beauty of my otherwise bare patio garden, but they have raised the level for what should be expected of a fresh salad bar.