Attack Of The Zombie Lettuce – Growing Baby Greens

Zombie LettuceIt’s green. It rises up from the ground. And no matter how often you hack at it, it just keeps coming back. (cue scary music) It’s attack of the Zombie Lettuce!!!!!!

At least that is what my husband thinks. We are reaching the tail end of the baby greens season, and we are eating baby greens every other day. It would be every day, if I had my way, but my husband draws a firm line on how often he will eat salad.   He tells me frequently that salad is what food eats.

Zombie lettuce, otherwise know as cut and come again lettuce or baby greens is the only kind of lettuce I can manage to get to grow here in the ‘burbs of Cleveland. The thought of growing a full head is almost laughable. Our “cool” season is incredibly short. Cold weather lingers well into May and hot weather normally gets into full swing around mid June. That leaves precious little time for heat and chill sensitive plants like lettuce.

But I really don’t mind. I enjoy baby greens very much and this way I can pick exactly what I need.

Planting baby greens is cheap and easy. I know that the price for them in the supermarket belies something different, as in that “beautiful virgin women pluck each individually” expensive, but really, they are easy to grow.

For less than a single bag of baby greens at your grocery store, you can have so much that you will probably grow sick of baby greens before it all bolts. All you need to look for is a small packet of “gourmet blend” lettuce. They normally retail for $2 – $4.

Prepare a bed for your lettuce. This can be out in your garden or in a conveniently located container. I have grown baby greens in both the garden and in containers and both are equally easy.

Scatter the whole packet of seeds over the prepared area. Be a rebel. Completely ignore those pesky spacing requirements. These little guys will never reach full size so they don’t need full space.

After the seeds are spread, rough up the soil a bit with a rake or your hands. Then water thoroughly.

In a week or two, you will have the beginnings of your zombie lettuce. Once the leaves are 2 — 3 inches tall, hack away to your heart’s content. You can’t stop it from coming, it will be back. Mwahahaha…

Um… Anyhoo. There are a few things to be aware of. The really big one being slugs. Slugs LOVE baby greens, so when harvesting, make sure you look carefully for them and remove them from the mix. And they are sneaky creature in this regards. So far, my family has not really boughtthe story that I threw the slugs in for the extra protein.

The other thing is that the plants will be growing so tightly together that it might be difficult to weed. Just make sure the Canada thistle and other unsavories don’t make it into the salad bowl.

I would also recommend that if you will be growing baby greens, that you invest in a salad spinner. It makes washing the lettuce a breeze.

So, yes, while they will not tear into you house and eat your eyes and heart out, zombie lettuce does add a tasty new taste adventure to the dinner table.

15 thoughts on “Attack Of The Zombie Lettuce – Growing Baby Greens
  1. I love baby greens as well! Grew a few this year. I know what you mean about the Ohio spring (we live just south of Canton). Unlike your husband, mine loves salad, we eat a huge one each day, we keep our baby greens all eaten up!

    Love the site by the way!

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  2. Jack on

    This is my first year for a garden. I have a square-foot garden and two of the squares are salad greens. They’re very satisfying to grow since they’re ready waaaaaaay before anything else. Plus the kids love the fact that they can eat something straight from the garden. We’ve not had salad in a couple days and the lettuce has gone to town and needs reigned back in.

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  3. I agree, I like this type much better than growing a full head that is gone once cut. Although I just pluck leaves off of those until they bolt. And I loved growing arugula this year.

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  4. This is the first year I’ve been able to grow lettuce. We built a fence around the garden to keep the neighborhood rabbits out and it made a HUGE difference. I’ve tried several times in the past and the rabbits always ate the seedlings as soon as they come up. Not this year! We are enjoying salads every day straight from the garden. Yippee!

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  5. I wish my lettuce would bloody cut and come again. My chickens and rabbits can’t get enough of it! Instead, the hens crowded around the small piddly tray of lettuce I did get around to sowing, and decimated it literally within seconds. Still, at least they’re quick to germinate. Although in the UK, we’re experiencing some very strange hot-cold weather. Doesn’t really know what it wants to do.

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  6. I’ve grown “Cut & Come Lettuce” or loose leaf. It is very easy to grow especially in a hot climate where reg. Lettuce would just bolt.

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  7. zengardner on

    I plant 7 different baby greens (and red) and eat it every day. It just keeps coming back and thats the great part.
    Love your site.

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  8. I tired the loose leaf (black Simpson) this year and didn’t like it as well as the romaine I did last year. That one regrew also but was a bit less flabby.

    Gotta love lettuce. You can put it in early. Basically ignore it and it keeps coming back.

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  9. Marilyn on

    I like reading your blog. It’s easy and enjoyable to read and I’m able to relate to your gardening.

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  10. I love growing lettuce. My husband doesn’t eat salads, though. Sigh. I just posted some pictures of whats coming up now. They’re so cute.

    PS ““beautiful virgin women pluck each individually” expensive” is so freaking funny but true.

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  11. This was my first year for gardening so I planted lettuce heads. Big mistake. Don’t get me wrong, they were absolutely delicious, but now they are gone. Gonna have to go the other route!

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  12. Besides taking so long, what are you going to do with big heads of lettuce anyways. It’s nicer to graze away at these baby greens. I too live in a short season climate (about 90 days, in northern Canada) and can’t grow much well but some lettuces. I’m trying broccoli this year just because I’m too urban-ified to know what growing broccoli actually looks like!

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  13. I know, it’s been a green year for Zombie lettuce! I figure my $2 investment has saved me at least $18 buying it from the grocery store. And it’s so tender too. I bought it from the Longwood Gardens gift shop and it’s from this company
    http://reneesgarden.com/
    along with Nasturtiums, Zinnias, Cosmos, Torch flowers and gourds.

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