Lettuce do some indoor gardening.

We’re in a winter wonderland right now! Almost 30 centimetres (12 inches) of snow fell on December 21st and 22nd here in Calgary and we all spent a few days digging ourselves out (then we had a bit more snow the night before last, just to add some extra frosting to an already thoroughly iced cake). Once again, I am grateful that I walk to work, and I am keenly looking forward to the snowshoeing treks this beautiful white fluffy stuff promises …

Now that winter has officially arrived, it’s time to start some lettuce! Not for outdoor transplant, because our spring doesn’t truly show up until June sometime (I exaggerate, but just barely), and I direct sow lettuce anyway, but for something to grow in the apartment. I recently upgraded my indoor growing system from the cobbled-together elements I’ve been using. Both set-ups are comprised of the same types of simple equipment – a grow light and a frame to put containers in – but the new one has aesthetic value and an ease of use that the old one didn’t quite possess (as well as a proper reservoir for watering, with a capillary mat. Not necessary, but absolutely delightful to have). Accordingly, ‘Flashy Trout Back’ is happening in my kitchen right now:

I don’t have room for any sort of big indoor gardening initiative (my little set-up lives on top of my refrigerator!), but I’ll grow some baby lettuce and some basil for a few months, then start some onion and tomato seeds for spring planting. If you live in a small space, don’t let the lack of room deter you from growing some food – especially during the cold winter months, when things seem pretty bleak and lonely. Small is something, and it can give you the chance to be inspired and creative and nurturing, which are some of the reasons why we garden in the first place. Plus – there’s the whole eating part. My mouth is watering just looking at those little lettuce seedlings. Aren’t they the most lovely things?

‘Lollo Rosso’ lettuce.

I’m growing ‘Lollo Rosso’ lettuce in a container on my balcony this year – I’m very pleased with this one so far! It has resisted bolting and is a tasty and beautiful coral type for cut-and-come again harvests.

What are your favourite cultivars/types of lettuce to grow?