headless zombies

Experiments are fun because by definition you never know what’ll happen, and it’s usually not what you expect.

The lettuce I’ve been regenerating from the butt-ends of store-bought romaine heads has, I think, done what it’s going to do.

IMG_4331The first head (on the right) is starting to throw out that tall center stalk that’s lettuce’s way of letting us know we should have picked it a week ago.

I don’t by any means consider the experiment a failure.   First, it was just really cool.  Secondly, there’s enough for a small salad between the two little plants.  It looks healthy and green and it didn’t cost anything.  By the same token they’re not exactly romaine heads.  More like romaine leaves.

I’m not giving up on the idea though.  The head-forming problem could have been many things; maybe I should have planted into soil sooner, maybe left them in water longer, maybe the indoor conditions weren’t what they needed.  I’m certainly at least going to try putting a couple zombies in the garden come spring.


21 thoughts on “headless zombies

    • I would think that’s possible. But I’m starting to clear space under the lights for more seedlings, so the next try will be outside when the weather here warms up

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  1. It was really interesting when you posted the article on this. I am impressed how they sprung back to life. I wonder if it is something to do with the type of lettuce they grow that makes it want to bolt quickly. Maybe the lettuce is close to bolting when it is harvested so tries to do the same once it has enough leaves and energy to do so? Either way, I’m jealous of your lettuce and cannot wait to grow some really soon.
    When we grew lettuce before, we pulled just enough leaves off to make a salad so the lettuce kept producing and this kept the lettuce from bolting for a while.

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    • It could be the type of lettuce Simon. We cut them back and had the very fresh green lettuce on our quesadillas tonight. It tasted like summer. I decided that since there’s still unused space under the grow lights, I might as well stick the plants back under and try for some more.

      Your thought on pulling off leaves is the way I normally do it, but I kind of wanted to see whether these would actually make heads, being that they’re romaine. If nothing else, maybe they’ll be at a good stage by the time the ground warms up for extra early lettuce.

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  2. They look lovely and green! It’s a brilliant idea. I’ve got a lovely Turnip top that has been sitting in my kitchen for weeks, now I shall put it in soil too – as an experiment – see will it form a real turnip at some stage!

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  3. I am newer to gardening so thank you for telling me the sign that my lettus should have been picked. Since I go through so much romaine it never has had a change to go much past your plants current state but I look forward to your extended experiment this summer!

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    • I’m sure there are other gardeners who let their lettuce grow longer, but it seems to get bitter shortly after it starts sending up the center seed stalk (well, outdoors anyway).

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