Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

June, 2006
Regional Report

Shows & Events

Native Plant Sale
The Theodore Payne Foundation has been promoting southern California plants for decades, and its nursery is full of plants precisely suited to our climate. Pick up some choice specimens at their summer plant sale on June 23-24, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 10459 Tuxford Street. For more information, call (818) 768-1802, or visit:

Clever Gardening Technique

Salvaging Almost-Bitter Lettuce
As lettuce starts to bolt (sending up its seed stalk) and leaves begin to feel leathery, taste a small piece before you harvest a bowlful, in case they've already turned too bitter for your taste. However, you can salvage almost-bitter lettuce with a double-washing process.

Submerge lettuce leaves in water for half an hour in a container that allows space between leaves. In small handfuls, remove the lettuce to a strainer, making sure to removing mulch and other inedible bits you may have picked up when harvesting. Turn the lettuce from the strainer back into the soaking container, and fill it again. Let it soak for another half an hour. Then rinse individual leaves over the strainer. This double-soaking process helps displace the bitter element in the leaves, and crisps them as well. Set aside the portion you'll use for your salad, and gently place the remainder into one or two plastic bags and store in the refrigerator, with the plastic bag folded over so some air can still circulate. This lettuce should last up to a week in the refrigerator.


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