Lettuce and Peas, Please

— words + photographs JULIE JOHNSON —

Today’s the day, or so says my mom’s printed copy of the 2023 The Old Farmer’s Almanac. If I am to plant lettuce and peas under moon-favorable conditions and timing and all, it’s now or wait until next season.

Timeout. I didn’t have said edition of the Almanac in hand as I recapped the day, so I veered to the garden planning dates portion of its website instead. Typed in my zip code — doo wap bee boop woop — and found a different set of instructions. I’m going to continue this post, pretending this part of the story did not happen.

So outside I went with my tackle box filled with seed packages and my plan for planting.


Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Start. Finish.

Rain is on its way*

The rain was not on its way, and anyone watching no doubt grew tired of seeing me lay out all my materials, scoop them up and hit the deck, lay out all my materials, scoop them up and hit the deck.

— I use one of my dad’s old tackle boxes to carry seeds, tape measure, pens, popsicle sticks and whatnot.

— The only time garden beds are nice and tidy is when I take a picture of them being nice and tidy. Soil additives have been added (mushroom compost for one), soil has been smoothed over and now soil is ready to grow some food.

— Today, I planted lettuce in grow-cut-grow-cut rows, so I scattered seed rather than carefully spaced seed. This year’s varieties: “Henderson’s Black-seeded Simpson,” “Crisp Mint,” “Bronze Beauty,” “Chinese Narrow Leaf,” “Merlot” and “Merveille Des Quatre Saisons;” Shoutout to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for the free gift of “Merlot.”

Though I only have experience with Baker Creek, I know of two other local seed shops in Missouri: The Buffalo Seed Company, which offers Midwest grown seed, and White Harvest Seed Company, located in Hartville. I see you, “San Marzano” tomato.

— I don’t have an official compost pile or compost bin. Instead, my mom pours leftover coffee and grounds in a cooking pan, adds a used tea bag, throws in a banana peeling, piles in vegetable scraps and gives me the pan. I dig a deep hole and dump everything in. Cover it up. Sometimes newspaper or wet paper towels or tea or whatnot also joins the compost party.


Hurry, peas

This is not my first time writing about “Little Marvel” peas. You can read my original article in the May 2021 issue of Homegrown Journal. You can also clickety-click here.

— Once again, I chose to plant Little Marvel using the method of square foot gardening, allowing me to place 12 plants in one square foot (24 total).

— I’m hopeful the peas will have time to mature. In May, the space will be used for okra, a plant I haven’t planted for several years but am already imagining getting in my tummy.

— I plan to update this page with growing and eating and tasting information throughout the lettuce and pea season, so bookmark this page and use it as a handy dandy reference.

Let’s Talk

What varieties of lettuce and peas are you growing?

What have you learned to do/not to do when growing lettuce and peas?

Comment below.



4 responses to “Lettuce and Peas, Please”

  1. You are going to have salad for Dayzzz! I really love Parris Island Cos lettuce. It seems to grow in heat/cold/whatever. I’m also planning on Buttercrunch and Tennis Ball.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I cannot wait! Crisp Mint was a latecomer to the list. I am looking for something other than iceberg that has a crunch to it. If I forget to ask, please tell me all about Tennis Ball. It is one I’d like to try.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I look forward to hearing about your favorites as well. I’m thinking I need to up my lettuce game!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My mom enjoys wilted lettuce salads. I like plain salads. Growing our own lettuce is a win-win.


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