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The first of August, or perhaps last week of July, I posted an article on regrowing Romaine Lettuce and promised you an update.  Here it is.

Now I remember.  It had been a few years since I had done this, but the second week of August I cut off the top of some Romaine Lettuce and stuck it into water to grow.  It grew great the first two weeks.  Then, I put it in soil and gradually it began to get spindly and finally during the first week of September, it bit the dust.  Perhaps the solution is to eat the leaves when it is only about five inches tall and call it "gourmet baby lettuce."

Now it looks like the one I started a week later in August is headed down the same path.  I may try it again, but this time leave it in the water.  Several years ago I tried this with celery and it grew so well that I transplanted it into the Garden where it grew really well and I harvested off it for over two months.

GROWING POTATOES

I have successfully grown sweet potatoes for several years.  I decided to try my luck at growing potatoes that unlike sweet potatoes, belong to the nightshade family. [Many folks don't know this but the leaves of the sweet potato can be eaten as a fresh or cooked green but don't try this with other potatoes as they are member of the nightshade family!]

I followed the rules and ordered seed potatoes from a seed catalog.  No only were they late in coming (took a month), they were rotten!  So I went to the grocery store and bought  1.5 pounds of small red potatoes and  1.5 pounds of Irish Gold potatoes.

I planted them about 10 days ago.  Five days after planting the red potatoes germinated.  The small Irish Gold potatoes have get to germinate. [Note: one of the reasons to order seed potatoes is that you can be guaranteed they haven't been treated with anti-sprouting chemicals which some  of those found in grocery stores have been.

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GETTING READY FOR SECOND BIG GARLAND COMMUNITY GARDEN EVENT OF 2021

On April 24 we celebrated our 7-year anniversary.  Sunday September 19th from 1 to 3 PM we will be celebrating our 2021 spring and summer gardens by sharing seeds and plants and swapping garden stories.

We are also planting a fall/winter garden in two raised beds.  One bed will be planted with winter greens seeds and the other one with root vegetable seed.  Our guests who want to participate will be invited to plant the seeds which Loving Garland Green will furnish--especially fun for children.  After planting the seeds, you can visit the garden often to watch them grow.  It's more fun than you may think.  The produce from these two beds will be devoted entirely to the Good Samaritans of Garland.

The Garland Community Garden is a little different from other community gardens. Our mission is to raise public awareness of the fun and healthy aspects of growing some of the food you eat.  Our garden is not designed for mass production. There is no uniformity to the garden whatsoever.  Our beds have come into being in the same organic fashion as the plants that grow in them.  We are here to have fun and inspire others.

This morning I am making the signs for these to beds.  I'll share them with you.  Hope to see you September 19th!  Bring seeds from plants. you've grown this year and plants to share as well if you have them.  I'm digging up some blackberries from my yard today.  Also I'll have a few small jujube trees as well as Okra and Luffa seeds to share. 

I'm really interested to see how the Komatsuna spinach grows.  I know from experience that Mustard grows like a weed in our area.  But a little bit of it goes a L-----ong  way.  In fact, I'll just go out on a limb and say that I don't like it.  But the Komatsuna sounds promising--provided that it grows like mustard and tastes like a tangy spinach.

 

FALL/WINTER GREENS


 

ROOT VEGETABLES

Root vegetables were very important to people of the world before refrigeration because they kept so well.  After harvesting they were stored in underground cellars, appropriately called "root cellars."  In addition fo the following root vegetables we already have sweet potatoes, baby red potatoes and Irish gold baby potatoes growing at the garden.  In addition to winter greens, other winter crops include varieties of winter squash such as Acorn squash and Butter nut Squash.  We have an entire large bed of Butternut squash in the garden that had already sprouted and should be producing by Thanksgiving. Broccoli and cabbage are two other popular plants for fall/winter gardens.

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THE EVENT WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE GARLAND COMMUNITY GARDEN SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 19 - 1 TO 3PM

1. Prepare your own garden tale to share with others.  If you want to immortalize it write it down or be prepared to give others a link to you site where they can learn more.  Please limit to 5 minutes.

2.  Prepare a few seed packets of vegetables that grew well in your garden during 2021 to share with other gardeners.

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FOR THE FIRST HOUR:

1. Welcome by current Loving Garland Green President Elizabeth Berry

2. Introductions and garden tales

As we go around and introduce ourselves, people will have the opportunity to tell us about their gardening experiences for the past year, what/if they have planted a fall/winter garden, what grew well for them this past year, etc.--anything garden-related they want to talk about, perhaps even the story of how you started gardening in the first place

3. Plant and seed exchange

Those attending are invited to bring seeds and plants to share/exchange with others.  

Save seeds now from any vegetable that grew well in your garden this year and bring them to share with others.  Nothing is more reliable than seeds from successful plants grown in the area where they will be planted the next season.

4. Announcement of upcoming Sweet Potato & Luffa Shucking Event - October 24, 2021

We will close out the first hour by telling people about our next garden event.

 

FOR THE SECOND HOIUR

We will present a  fall/winter garden in  two metal box beds.  One plot will contain winter greens like kale and perpetual spinach and the other will be turnips and beets.  These beds are designated 100% to The Good Samaritans of Garland Texas.  This organization does so much good for the homeless and those who are in food crisis in our community.

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There will be Give Away items while they last:  Seeds, plants, fresh jujube fruit (tastes like small apples).

We will also feature jujube snacks that are available at local Asian markets.

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EXCERPTS FROM AN ARTICLE I POSTED IN SEPTEMBER OF 2016:

90 Year-Old Horticulturist Takes Care of a Five-Acre Jujube Orchard with 300 Trees

Chris Jacobsen on his tractor with his orchard of 300 jujube trees in the background – September 3, 2016

[Note:  I think Chris has since passed on, but no certain.]

FROM 2O16:

This past weekend I followed my own advice and visited Chris Jacobsen’s Jujube Etc. Farm. As I mentioned in a previous article, you can visit Mr. Jacobsen’s farm during September weekends:  10 to 5 on Saturdays and 2 to 6 on Sundays.  His 35-year old jujube orchard covers about five acres and contains 300 jujube trees.  The exact location of his 15-acre farm is 7904 County Road 572 in Farmersville, Texas 75442.  Chris, a remarkable man, manages this farm all by himself.  If you wish to visit other than on a Saturday and Sunday in September, please call him at 972-784-6480.

Chris began his long life in Denmark.  Like his father before him, Chris was educated as a horticulturist.  His father built one of the largest greenhouses in the southern area of Denmark.  It survived World War II—the teenage years of young Chris.  In the early ‘50’s when he was 26, Chris spent a year traveling all around the world—from the USA to Australia.  He ended up settling in the USA and going to work as a salesman for Stark Brothers Nurseries and Orchard Company. [Founded in 1816, Stark Brothers is one of the oldest nurseries in the USA.]  As it turned out Chris was assigned a sales territory in Texas.  I believe he settled in the Irving area and then in 1974 he bought his present homestead in the Farmersville area and settled there.  Since that time he has been very busy growing his beautiful jujube orchard.

The orchard is beautiful.  Its symmetry is a testimony to the professionalism of Chris Jacobsen who has planted, grafted, and tended each of these 300 trees for over 35 years. 

  

A few of the 300 trees in Chris Jacobsen’s Jujube Orchard – September 3, 2016.  Begun over 35 years ago, neither chemical sprays nor chemical fertilizers have been used in this orchard.  As far as we know, this is the only commercial jujube orchard in the USA.

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Will Chris Jacobsen’s Work Carry on?

I certainly hope so.  Its fate seems to be largely in the hands of a fellow named Bryan Gordon.  Bryan met Mr. Jacobsen several months ago through a fellow permaculturist and good friend of Chris Jacobsen.  Bryan is a horticulturist, permaculturist, and arborist. 

Over the last several months, Bryan has built a working relationship with Mr. Jacobsen. He volunteers when he can to assist Mr. Jacobsen in keeping his place in working order. In return Mr. Jacobsen is teaching Bryan how to carry on his dream of sharing jujubes and their healthy benefits with the world. In addition to learning how to graft the trees and take care of them, he is also learning how to make the Jujube products Mr. Jacobsen once sold such as soap, skin care products, capsules and more. Bryan hopes to incorporate a jujube orchard into his future farm plans and keep Chris' legacy going.

As far as the future of the farm, Mr. Jacobsen has donated the property to a Christian organization.

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Landon Winery Purchases Some of the Jacobsen Jujubes

 

Bob Landon served up samples of Landon Winery sherry made from Jacobsen Jujubes. Sherry from Jacobsen jujubes is delicious!  You can only find it at Landon Winery.

As an added treat on Saturday, Bob Landon of Landon Winery was at the farm on Saturday. Landon Winery has two locations: 101 North Kentucky Street in downtown McKinney and also a downtown location in Greenville, Texas at 2500 Lee Street.  Bob was giving out free samples of the sherry from the winery that was made with Jujubes from Mr. Jacobsen’s trees.  It was delicious.  Charlie bought a bottle for me.  It was quite a bargain.  I don’t know if Bob will be there again or not but it’s worth the drive out there to see.  If he is not there, you can always visit the Landon Winery in McKinney or Greenville.

We hope that a local grocery store will soon be featuring this delicious and international award-winning treat.  How special!  Local sherry produced from a local orchard—possibly the only commercial jujube orchard in the USA.  This sherry, a connoisseur’s choice, recently won the Lone Star International gold medal for excellence.

This sherry recently won a gold medal in the Lone Star International Wine Competition.

photo courtesy Jesse Patterson Photography 

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Kari and Jesse Patterson also came to pick jujubes today.  Mr. Jacobsen has some loyal followers and jujube fans!  This is Kari and Jesse’s third year to visit the farm.

 Jesse, a professional photographer, has taken some great photos of Mr. Jacobsen on his tractor and around the orchard.

See more of Jesse’s work at  JessePattersonPhotography.com

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Bowl of Jujubes hand-picked by Charlie from the Jacobsen Orchard– September 3, 2016

So, what’s all the fuss about jujubes?

The Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) is a remarkable fruit.  I would elevate it to the position of a super food such as kale.  It can be grown from Pennsylvania to Mexico.   It prefers hot and dry climates while it will tolerate temperatures a few degrees below zero.  While it’s a good choice for our Garland Community Garden (and we do have a small one growing there); it’s not an outstanding choice for most urban yards—unless you happen to be a dedicated gardener.

Jujubes Contain Betulinic Acid

Betulinic Acid has been found to selectively kill human melanoma cells while leaving healthy cells alive.  Due to its apparent specificity for melanoma cells, betulinic acid seems to be a more promising anti-cancer substance than drugs like Taxoi because Taxoi is a general cell poison and is not specific to cancer cells.  Also, betulinic acid has antibacterial properties and inhibits the growth of both Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Sources:  

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304383501007182

http://www.eurekaselect.com/69339 - http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/med.10053/full

Jujubes are packed with potassium and magnesium

Potassium is a proven heart strengthener while magnesium works in conjunction with potassium.  Jujubes increase the level of the body’s nitric oxide, restoring and dilating the blood vessels for better blood circulation.

And there is so much more to know regarding the healthy benefits of the jujube.  Just Google jujube and look at all the information that appears—from medical articles, to health products, to recipes.  I simply steep a bunch of jujubes in boiling hot water, strain off most of the pulp and drink the delicious and healthy tea.  The leaves of the jujube also can be used to make tea as well.

HAPPY JUJUBE TO YOU!

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More Information for You

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GETTING MAD

A couple have been continuing to come down to the Garland community garden and stealing, yes stealing, jujubes from a jujube tree and likely other produce as well.

We share our produce with the Good Samaritans of Garland. We realize many people are having a hard time making ends meet.  That is why we provide the contact information for Good Sam’s throughout the garden.  They are much better able to provide the full array of nutrition needed for a family than the produce from our garden which is limited.

We have a sign posted right by the jujube tree asking people to not pick produce in the garden You can’t miss it.  But there is more.  A few days ago, Charlie saw a woman picking jujubes and stopped in to tell her to please not pick the fruit.  She was certainly not contrite regarding her thievery.  Charlie got the license plate number of the car.  Then, Saturday.  when I was walking down to the garden with the mower to mow at about 7:30 in the morning,  I saw the car pulling out from the garden again.  They had been picking jujubes again!  Even after Charlie asked them not to 

How do I know? I know because I steward the jujube tree and like a shepherd with her flock, I know every branch of that tree that has fruit.   This year it was loaded.  I bought that  tree 3 years ago and paid $50 for it.  (I recently noticed on the Internet they sell now for $59.)  I have watered, trimmed and taken care of that tree for three years.  Jujube is a tree that is native to Asia.  It is very drought tolerant and its nutritious fruits are similar to dates when ripe and like crispy apples when green.  One of my reasons for planting it down at the garden was to introduce people in our community to this tree and its fruit.  Outside of our Asian community, few in our area have even seen a jujube.

 

We will have a few (7) small Jujube trees to give away at our September 19th event.  This tree spreads by underground runners--not unlike the blackberry.  If you plant one jujube tree and do nothing, you will have an orchard in 15 years.

 

The Jujube is roughly the size of a golf ball, but slightly oblong in shape.  Although many say the ripe jujube tastes like a date, my taste buds tell me it tastes more or less like i imagine construction paper to taste.  However, I find the green jujubes to be delicious.  They remind me of Granny Smith apples but not nearly so tart. Of course, the best way to consume them is all by themselves, but I imagine they would make a great jujube pie.

 

 

GETTING EVEN

Charlie and I went down to the garden with a ladder and picked just about 95% of all the jujubes left on the tree.  This yield represents about 50% of the total yield this year for the tree.  The thieves got the rest. Still, I am happy for these as I’m sure it will be enough for those who want to sample something new at our September 19th event.

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I was busy in the garden this morning--busy ignoring guidelines for planting potatoes for a Fall/Winter Gardens in North Texas.  First of all,  sweet potatoes/yams are to be planted once a year in May only.  They are harvested about  two weeks before Thanksgiving.  However, all other potatoes can be planted twice a year:  once in the early spring (Late February/early March)  and once again in early to mid-August for a late fall harvest--110 days prior to the first frost which usually happens around November 24.  These potatoes, unlike sweet potatoes mature in 60 to 90 days.

Thus, today, almost two weeks past the recommended deadline I planted 1.5 pounds of Baby Red potatoes and 1.5 pounds of Baby Dutch Yellow potatoes.  Both of these potatoes are small and rather pricey in the grocery store and they are delicious boiled, cooked with a pot roast, or roasted in the oven or on the grill.

Ignoring the dates on the planting calendar was not the only rule I broke. The potatoes I planted came from the grocery store.  A week ago I had ordered seed potatoes from a nursery on the Internet.  They arrived yesterday and were all mushy with black mold.  So, we will see if these potatoes I bought at the grocery store will even germinate into plants.  Since these are small, I planted the whole potato as opposed to cutting it into several pieces.

Here is the process:

1. Dig up the soil to about 8 inches deep.

2. Level -ff soil with a hoe or rake.

3. Water thoroughly

4. Insert one potato at a time into the soil. Push it into the wet soil so only the tip is showing.  Only the top with a few eyes exposed should show.

5. Cover potatoes with about ½ inch of soil.

6. Spread 6 inches of hay over the bed and water thoroughly.  Keep the hay and soil moist for the next 12 to 16 days.

[Potato sprouts should appear within 12 to 16 days.]
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When sprouts are about five to six inches tall, add a mixture of two parts hay to one part soil to the top of the existing straw layer.  This new layer should be up the leaves on the stem. As the potato grows potatoes will grow from the stem in this layer of soil and hay.  Repeat the process again when the stalk has grown another 5 or six inches.  Potato stalks can reach up to 40 inches.  The dotted box in the illustration below shows how each six inches of staw/soil layer creates a growing area for new potatoes to sprout off the stem.

 

By the time I add the third layer of hay and soil, I may build a wire enclosure around it, or  I may continue to add layers Ruth Stout style with a somewhat unconstructed mulch pile. 

This method gives a high yield in a small space--ideal for growing potatoes in an urban garden since growing potatoes can take up a lot of space.  There are many ways, some of them quite elaborate, for constructing towers for growing potatoes vertically.

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LIFE GOES ON!  AND WE ARE HAVING AN EVENT IN THE GARDEN TO PROVE IT!-- GET TOGETHER WITH US at the Garland Community Garden! - Sunday September 19 from 1:00 to 2:00 PM

Mark your Calendar! Note: The Garland Community Garden is on City of Garland Property and as such, we are subject to rules and regulations that govern the parks in our city.  Therefore, any rules that apply to our parks also apply at the garden.  The garden is located at the junction of Naaman School Road and Brand in Garland Texas.

 

 

AGENDA FOR THE EVENT

FOR THE FIRST HOUR:

1. Welcome by current Loving Garland Green President Elizabeth Berry

2. Introductions and garden tales

As we go around and introduce ourselves, people will have the opportunity to tell us about their gardening experiences for the past year, what/if they have planted a fall/winter garden, what grew well for them this past year, etc.--anything garden-related they want to talk about, perhaps even the story of how you started gardening in the first place.  If you are new to gardening, that’s great too!  This event can be your new beginning.

[Depending on the number of people, we may have to limit these introductions to five minutes or we may vote to break up into smaller groups for longer discussions.]

3. Plant and seed exchange

Those attending are invited to bring seeds and plants to share/exchange with others.  For example, at the moment Loving Garland Green has 10 small jujube trees that we have dug up that have spread out from our Jujube tree in the front of the garden.  Many are not familiar with the jujube.  Its delicious fruit is similar to the date.  The tree is very drought tolerant and grows fast and well in our area.  In addition to the tree, we will have some of the fruit for people to sample if they like.  The other very special plant item that we will be offering are native milk weed seeds--not always easy to find but we will have more than enough for all.

Save seeds now from any vegetable that grew well in your garden this year and bring them to share with others.  Nothing is more reliable than seeds from successful plants grown in the area where they will be planted the next season.

4. Announcement of upcoming Sweet Potato & Luffa Shucking Event - October 24, 2021

We will close out the first hour by telling people about our next garden event.

Most every year except for 2020, Loving Garland Green has hosted this event around the third or fourth weekend in October.  In 2021, it will be held on Sunday October 24 from 1-3PM in the Garden.  Children are especially welcome to  this event where we dump all our large sweet potato pots (7 pots this year) and let the kids (gloves furnished) dig through the soil to discover sweet potatoes.  Note: Process is subject to change due to COVID restrictions. For example, we may have adults rake through the soil and hand sweet potatoes to the children.  Luffa Shucking will be led by one of our members, Charles Bevilacqua.  Charlie is the one who built our luffa tunnel, a favorite with the children.  He will demonstrate how to peel a luffa and reveal its bath/kitchen sponge.  Those who want will be given the opportunity to try their hand.  Needless to say, there will be plenty of luffa seeds to give away so that others can grow their own sponges next year.


SECOND HOUR:  Planting a Fall/Winter Garden


The second hour of the event will be a real community planting.  Before the event, members of Loving Garland Green will set up two approximate 3 feet by 6 feet raised beds.  A secret admirer has left us two lovely metal frames for raised beds.  [Note: Our garden has a magical effect on people.  citizens of our community, like fairies in the night,  often leave us presents such as garden pots, plants, and tools. So, it was with these two frames.  We don’t know who.  They just magically appeared one day.]

One of the beds will be planted with transplants of Kale, Swiss Chard, and perpetual Spinach.  The other bed will be seeded with root crops such as turnips, beets and carrots.

These two beds will be dedicated to the Good Samaritans of Garland and we will have a sign between the beds indicating this dedication.   

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We want people to visit and enjoy our garden.  I hope our new sign strikes a happy compromise in communicating that we do not want visitors harvesting our produce and at the same time showing compassion for those who may visit who are in need of food.  Thus, we provide the name and address of the Garland Good Samaritans, a local food bank that Loving Garland Green shares 50% of our produce with.

 

WELCOME!

We hope you enjoy the peace and beauty of the garden. Our mission is to raise community awareness of the benefits offered by urban gardens.

If you are in need of food, please contact Good Samaritans of Garland 972-276-2263 - 214 North 12th Street Garland, TX 75040.  We donate 50% of the food we grow in this garden to them.

  • Please do not pick our produce. Members of Loving Garland Green work hard to grow these vegetables.
  • Please take your trash with you when you leave.  We do not have City trash pickup.
  • Please be aware for your safety.  We are a wildlife habitat and share our space with other creatures, including snakes.
  • Please do not plant anything or harvest seeds without permission.  972-571-4497
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Hydroponics vs. Soil


I want to see if I can grow a full-sized head of Romaine Lettuce in half of a half-gallon former milk container placed on my kitchen window sill. This same experiment could also be done with a stalk of celery.  I've decided to regrow one lettuce in water with organic fertilizer and the other one in soil.

Here are the steps I’ll follow:

Materials:

Two Coffee cups

Two heads of Romaine lettuce

Two empty plastic half-gallon milk cartons

Organic vegetable fertilizer ( only ¼ teaspoon) You can use miracle grow if you like.

Enough rich garden soil to fill one half of a half-gallon milk container
Tap water

 

Tools:

Kitchen knife and fork

¼ teaspoon measuring spoon

Utility knife [for cutting milk carton in half]

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1. Cut off the ends of two heads of Romaine lettuce. (About 2 inches)

 

 

2. lightly score the bottom of each cut piece with a fork. 

3. Place bottom down in a cup with about 1 ½ inches of water.

4. In about a week the lettuce will begin to grow.

 

5. At about two weeks check to see if root hairs have sprouted.

 

6. Transplant to milk carton containers (half-gallon containers cut in half). One is filled with about 2 inches of water and ¼ teaspoon of fertilizer.  The other container will have holes punched in bottom for drainage and will be filled about half full with soil.  Put one lettuce plant in the water container.  Put the other one in the soil and then put soil around it to  about half inch from top of container.  Water so the soil is moist, not saturated.

7. Add water to both containers as needed. According to my calculations, from start to finish should be about six weeks.

 

NOTES:  The photo below I took of the lettuce growing in the water/fertilizer solution. I started the one tonight that I’ll grow in the soil medium.   That’s me in the reflection of the window.  To be successful at doing a project like this 1) it has to be easy and 2) I need to have the experiment in a place where I will see it often and thus won’t forget.  My kitchen window sill is the excellent spot for me.




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REGROW PRODUCE YOU BRING HOME FROM THE GROCERY STORE.

The photo shows Romaine lettuce I have growing on the window sill in my kitchen.  It gets indirect sunlight which I’ve found is great for lettuce.  Once the root hairs appear, after about a week to 10 days, I transplant it into a half-gallon milk carton filled with soil. [Cut milk carton in half with a utility knife.  Put drain holes in bottom.  Fill with potting soil.  One container is enough to grow one head of lettuce.]

Peanuts for saving?  Depends on your definition of peanuts.  One bag with three heads of Romaine lettuce costs me about $2.99.  I eat about six heads of lettuce a month so my lettuce bill would be about $6.00.  That comes to $72 a year just for lettuce.  By cutting that expense in half, I save $36 and that is just on one produce item.  This is also a great project for children.

Celery is another vegetable that is easy to re-grow (in the same fashion as lettuce by cutting the end of it off and sticking it in water).