What's a 'True Leaf?'

Ever heard of a 'Cotyledon?' 

Say it this way:  Cot-i-lee-don

The cotyledon is the first set of leaves to pop up once a seed is planted.  But contrary to popular opinion, it's part of the seed and not a true leaf.  The cotyledon doesn't photosynthesize but provides the nutrients the seed needs to keep growing. 

As the plant grows stronger, new leaves appear that are called, 'true leaves,' because they are the ones that actually photosynthesize, look like the actual plant's leaves and will hang on to maturity. 

Many cotyledons look similar so it may seem like you've got nothing but one plant coming up in your garden when the seeds begin germination.  But hang on, because the true leaves are one their way! 

Cotyledon-that's a four syllable word!  So, head out to the garden with horticulture confidence and an expanded vocabulary.  You can thank me later!

Lettuce Begin with Lettuce (not Tomatoes)

When most of you think of starting a small garden, you most likely think of the tomato.  It's the quintessential backyard garden veggie (actually fruit, but I won't hold that against you).  And it does taste sooo much better when its fresh from the garden (and not unloaded off a semi from CA).  

Nevertheless, tomatoes can be a challenge to grow.   A tomato is nearly the end product of the plant's life cycle.  It's the fruit that holds the seeds for next year's plants.  So, getting the plant nearly to adulthood can be a tricky thing.  Water!  Fertilizer!  Sun!  And don't forget the squirrels!  It's a lot to balance when you're still riding your gardener training wheels.

Might I suggest an alternative for the start of your backyard garden?  How about lettuce?  As opposed to the tomato, lettuce gardening harvests the very first part of the plant's production--the leaves. 

So as you consider beginning your backyard garden, skip the thoughts of a juicy tomato (for now) and start simply with a bowl of delicious, crisp fresh lettuce.  Just like tomatoes, its so much tastier than its grocery store counterpart but unlike tomatoes, it's a lot simpler to grow. 

So, get out in the dirt and get growing!

Need some help growing your own?  Check out my easy to read, step by step guide to growing your own salad.  It's in the shop!

Salad Growing Workshop!

Learn How to Grow Your Own Salad

My favorite Houston gardening season is finally upon us here in Houston!  Three years ago, my family and I built our backyard gardens, filled them with soil and planted our first crop of lettuce.  As we harvested bowl after bowl after bowl of salad, I couldn't believe the outcome.  The greens were so fresh, sweet and crunchy that even the kids ate it. 

Since that time, my family grows enough lettuce to provide a salad a day from October to April.  Plus, we have more than we need to bring to family celebrations, potlucks and to share with neighbors. Lettuce is hands down my favorite crop to grow and I can hardly bring myself to buy the bagged stuff when the weather gets too hot for it in the summer.

This month, I'd love to teach you all I know about growing your own salad!  Please join me in one of my client's West University gardens for coffee and treats as we talk all about lettuce gardening. 

Click here to sign up!

Salad Growing Workshop

Thursday, October 27, 2016
West University
9:30-11 am
$30 covers the cost of coffee, treats, the best lettuce seed, and a hands-on workshop that will prepare you to grow your own salad too! 

There are limited spaces so hurry over and sign up before it's too late!