Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

The Tasting of Mesclun Cuisine Lettuce Mix

A photo of Nebraska DaveHey, it's me again.  The weather here has been five star Autumn weather.  Because of the very dry September with only one inch of the normal 2.86 inches of rain fall, major leaf fall as begun.  The trees in my yard are almost totally bare.  Only the Maple trees are hanging on to their leaves.  They normally drop their leaves the first week or two of November but who knows this year.  So far this month we have .95 of an inch of rain which again is far behind the average rain fall for October of 2.42 inches.  It's only fitting that the garden year should end with the same bipolar attitude that it started the year.  Don't you think?  All of my blogger garden friends have similar stories about a less than productive garden experience this year.  I am kind of glad this year is over and am already planning next year's gardens.  With the new property looking like a go, the potential is practically limitless for a couple years.

The Mesclun weed cuisine ... errr, ah, lettuce mix has come to maturity and harvesting has commenced. I caught one of those fat leaf munching worms in the cuisine patch the other day.  Funny thing was that it was on a wild bind weed.  Hmmm, even the worms prefer weeds to Chef Platt's Mesclun lettuce mix.  I will say one thing about Mesclun lettuce and that is it's some pretty hardy stuff.  I had given up on the whole experiment and just left it to die.  I didn't water it and water has been pretty sparse the last six weeks.  As you can see it not only lived but thrived and the rabbits didn't touch a single leaf.  Hmmmmm.  I guess I'll give it a taste but if there are weeds in the patch, I'm not sure I would know the difference.  If you don't hear from me for a while, call the cops because I'm laying in the Mesclun salad face down on the kitchen table from eating a poison weed by mistake. 

Mesculn Greens 

OK, so here's the first harvest along with almost the last harvest of tomatoes.  The tomatoes look pretty pathetic with old dried up vines but the green tomatoes just keep on getting ripe.  I suppose I'll just continue to let them ripen on the vine and rip them out after the first frost which is any time after the 15th of October. So let's get started and see what this stuff tastes like.

Harvested Greens 

Well, a good wash and torn leaves not cut was first on the list.  A garden fresh chunked up tomato and a sprinkle of chopped onion should bring a good salad to the table.  It still kind of looks like a mess of weeds to me but it didn't taste all that bad but then again I can make any thing taste good when I drown it in Blue Cheese dressing.  I know that just ruined the whole organic thing.  Didn't it? 

Mesculn Prepared Salad 

I give you one last parting shot of the trellis planting this year from the poor man's living patio.  It did turn out really well this year but I suppose the daily watering and the shot of Miracle Grow every three weeks probably helped some.  As you can see it definitely has the fall look to it.

Poor Mans Living Patio Trellis 

I've been working on a backyard patio that will have a fire pit on it during the summer months.  I'm not sure I'll get it finished this year as the weather could break at any time.  I have the foundation completed for the retaining wall. This bricks for the actual patio surface will be concrete formed individual bricks.  It will look great.  The bricks will match the retaining wall which will be red with black swirled through it.  Each one of the first layer of retaining wall blocks will be glued to the concrete foundation blocks that are buried into the ground with construction glue.  In this picture I just have them set in place to see how things will fit together.

Backyard Patio 

I've been over to the new property again.  I spent some time cleaning a swath to get a look at just how much work it's going to be to clean up the property.  Whew, a lot!!  I've been thinking about a name for the new property.  I came up with the name "Terra Nova Gardens".  Terra Nova means new land or new earth in latin.  I figure that I will be kind of making the land new after it's long time slumber of eleven years.  I haven't heard anything yet so probably the owner will not respond to the notice sent to him/her.  Here's another video with something interesting that I found. 

  

I hope all of you are having a great time enjoying the fall weather.  Until next time, keep those canners canning, those dryers drying, and keep those delicious fall soups coming.

nebraska dave
11/10/2011 2:41:53 PM

Chuck, $10 for a salad, huh. Hmmmm, I have been eating the salad and it is pretty cold weather tolerate. It's also very proliferate. I can't keep up with the little 4'X4' patch that I planted. I pulled a carrot just to see how they were doing and it was about the size of my little finger. They will stay in the ground for a while longer. The spuds are getting dug either to day or tomorrow. Have a great Thanksgiving day.


nebraska dave
11/10/2011 2:37:27 PM

Allan, I should be hearing about the new property and day now. The sixty days should be up right before Thanksgiving which is next week. Next year with the new property (Terra Nova Gardens), the harvest should provide enough to begin to fill the basement storage area that needs finishing this winter. Much of the produce will still be given away to family, friends, and homeless soup kitchens. My main goal with the gardens in the new property will be to give away as much as possible and providing for my own winter food. I have some other thoughts about a front patio neighborhood food exchange but we will have to see how things work out next year. Have a great Thanksgiving day with the family.


chuck mallory
11/1/2011 9:36:49 PM

Nebraska Dave, I just want to tell you that a Mesclun salad in Chicago costs $10 so you are living in luxury and maybe didn't even know it! P.S. You sure keep your truck clean!


allan douglas
10/29/2011 4:59:47 AM

Huh... bumped up against the blather limit... pressing on anyway! I have a patch of Mesclun growing too. I like this stuff for salads, the flavors are wrong for use on sandwiches. I prefer leaf lettuce for that. Like you, my Mesclun was one of the better growing crops this year. My fall garden consists of the Mesclun, leaf lettuce, onions (green and Spanish), spinach, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and garlic. And of course my herb bed. The tomatoes have pretty much given up the ghost and I'm pulling them out, same for my pepper plants. Peppers were the star of my garden this year, especially the hot peppers; I've frozen and canned enough sweet peppers and especially the jalapenos, hot banana and cayenne's to last me for years! Next year I'll plant all sweet bell peppers and hope to get enough to sell at the local farmers market - these bring quite a high price in the local grocery store, people will be looking for an alternative. Good luck on your property!


nebraska dave
10/17/2011 10:51:11 AM

Car repair and yard work is getting in the way of the patio project. My daughter's car needs to have some work done. A new muffler, a new front axle on the driver side, and two new wheel lug nut studs. That all needs to be done before the weather gets too cold. I hate working on cars in cold weather. We just got this car. As you can see, it's an old clunker to get to work and back until she can get her income tax return to buy a much better car. Old Dad comes to the rescue because you know he can fix anything. I still have her believing at 27 that I can fix anything, build anything, and know everything. No, not really but she knows there are quite a few things I can do. One thing we didn't know when we bought the car was it had a gas tank leak. I don't do gas tanks. There's a light misty rain today so I don't know if I'll be able to get out and work on outside stuff today. It's time to start thinking about the transition to inside projects. Have a great fall Michigan day.


cindy murphy
10/16/2011 7:19:57 PM

Dave, Dave, Dave, sometimes you crack me up….Mesculn weed cuisine? I would have loved for my fall lettuce patch to look like that! Hardy, and seemingly green worm resistant – I may just have to give the Mesculn mix a try next fall, (though I’m partial to Salad Bowl Blend – a wonderful mix of Green Salad Bowl and Red Salad Bowl leaf lettuces – yum, and it grows really well in my sandy soil). This year’s fall garden fell to the green worm invasion. Every last kale, mustard green, and spinach seedling – completely gone before they were even an inch tall. The little limey-green worms weren’t big or fat; I even have to admit they were kind of pretty….and definitely hungry. First I wondered where the kale went; the spinach soon started disappearing; by the time I found the worms they were on the mustard greens, having eaten half of them, and I gave up. Pfft! Let them have it – it was too late to start again this season. But there’s always next year! Right now we’re enjoying the very last of the tomatoes, (only two left – drats!), and a mess of jalapeno and Hungarian peppers. I read your comment to Mary; Menard’s is Hubs’ favorite store here – he spends so much time (and money) there, they even send him a birthday gift! Menard’s is where he found the insert for the Mother of All Firepits. It’s a metal cylinder with a lip that fits into the interlocking cement block ring he built that looks very similar to what you’re building. It’s bottomless, and the lip is about eight inches wide, which allows it to fit firepits with…uhm…an eight inch variable? (I vaguely wonder if I’m explaining this right) Anyway, just mentioning it because it might be something to look for; I’m sure it’s less expensive than to get a complete cheap free standing pit, and it’s probably better made than a cheap pit too. Enjoy the rest of your fall, (I personally am loving mine!)


nebraska dave
10/16/2011 6:35:01 PM

Mary, my Mother-in-law did the tomato newspaper wrapping thing one year. It worked for her too. If the weather holds off another week or two I won't have many green tomatoes left. The vines are totally dried up but the tomatoes still are ripening on the vine. Of course there are no more blooms but I thought it quite amazing that the green tomatoes would continue to ripen. If I had the space, I'd just pull them up by the roots and hang them up inside some where until all the green tomatoes were ripe. If there are any green tomatoes left, I'll give the newspaper a try. I saw that same fire ring that you are talking about only it was at Menard's here in Nebraska. It is kind of a neat looking idea. I think that I'll build a ring with the retaining wall blocks I'm using for my patio then my thought was to get a cheap round free standing fire pits and leave the legs off. The block ring would allow the fire pit to set down inside and be supported on the blocks by the fire pit rim. It probably wouldn't be any cheaper than the fire ring kit but it would match my patio a little better. Who knows I might be able to snag a year end sale and get a fire pit real cheap. Have a great fall day and thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.


nebraska dave
10/16/2011 6:14:15 PM

Dave, my bad, my bad. I just couldn't get myself to work on anything last week but I'm better now. Do you ever have times like that? I can't wait to get right into this next week with a lot of yard and garden cleanup. It seems that all those necessary maintenance chores get in the way of project progress. I would like to get over to the Terra Nova garden property and do a little more clean up. The last time I was there I pulled a huge pile of nettle weeds. It seems that the stinging properties of the nettle bled into the cracks of my gloves and left my hands stinging for the rest of the afternoon. Did they have nettles in Minnesota? I may just throw some dirt down the hole under the tree trunk the next time I go over to Terra Nova Gardens. Then if the dirt is out of the hole the on the next visit I'll know it's still an active living place for some animal. Eventually, I'll have to remove that tree trunk and relocate any varmints that live there. That will have to be one of the first things before planting garden beds. Have a great Arizona garden day.


mary carton
10/16/2011 9:19:14 AM

Dave our trees are loosing leaves like crazy here due to lack of rain. We had 0.83 inches Thurs & Sat I got the tractor and tiller out to plow up my new gardening area since I took over the old one in daylilies, lilies & iris and it just bounced due to the hard ground. A local block and soil manufacturer for Lowes has a sale yard and has a fire pit that comes with a grill insert that I want to do along with a patio. Right moving and dividing iris and daylilies are taking up my time. Just before a forecasted frost pull all your green tomatoes and wrap in newspapers and put in a box in the dark. check them weekly and put out any that are ripe. We had tomatoes past Christmas one year doing this.


dave larson
10/16/2011 9:17:02 AM

Hi N Dave, What a great post. You are really making a wonderful project out of renewing and sustaining the earth. I look forward to seeing the fire pit when it's complete. We're still laying flagstone and pavers around the straw bale house. As you so well know, that kind of work is hard, but pretty sustaining. Terra Nova is a wonderful name for what you are doing. I look forward to progress reports on that project (with pics!!) - Enjoy what sounds like a lovely fall and keep those tomatoes coming til frost. Last year, after our killing frost, we harvested every tomato that was even thinking of having a blush of red. They all ripened in our 2' window sills and we had fresh tomatoes through December. Gotta love it. Keep on enjoying your great projects, N Dave. That's what keeps us young.


nebraska dave
10/16/2011 7:48:19 AM

MW, I survived the tasting of the garden greenry cuisine. It was a little bitter and somewhat tough but I'll eat more before the frost comes. It has taken over the garden patch that I planted with these seeds. I guess 80 plants are way too much for one person to eat. The rest of the family won't touch it. I still like the standard leaf lettuce better. I'm going to try to grow some under grow lights in the basement next to the food storage area this winter. I sorry to hear about your eye problems. I pray for a quick healing so you can continue to enjoy the great fall weather. Have the best day that you can.


mountain woman
10/15/2011 12:38:32 PM

Dave, :-), Loved your post and I sure hope we don't find you face down in a plate of poisoned greenery!!! Mountain Man always liberally sprinkles our organic produce with Blue Cheese dressing too. Gives him the calories he needs to keep on working and with all your projects, you need the calories too! I love the name "Terra Nova Gardens" and can't wait to hear more of your adventures. We've been having unbelievably beautiful weather here too. So incredibly warm but unfortunately I'm having eye problems and I'm not getting around much but at least I'm not freezing. Always love your thoughts!