Lettuce Celebrate! Salad Greens to Grow in a Gluten & Allergen Free Garden

by Kathleen Reale

Dairy Free Nut Free Fish Free Soy Free Gluten Free 

This is the first year that I tried my hand (or rather I say green thumb) at growing lettuce in my garden. Back in May I planted, from seed, rows of Loose Leaf Lettuce with the hopes of getting one or two heads to use in a few side salads tossed with other gluten and allergen free toppings. However after a few months, those seeds grew, and grew and grew… and what a crop I have.  Even if I ate a salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and gave the rest away to all my neighbors, friends and family, I would still have bunches of the green leafy stuff that even the local grocer would envy.

This got me thinking (and realizing that this is what my “garden journal” is for!) that next year I will have to grow more than just one type of lettuce. I decided I’ll have to mix-and-match the assortment of greens growing in my garden next year in order to thoroughly enjoy the salad days of summer with more variety, spice and flavor.

Lettuce is the main course of the salad plate. However, though mistakenly, most of the effort and concentration of many salads is misguidedly placed on the mix-ins and toppings of the salads.

The type of lettuce used in a salad can make-or-break it. The selection of the correct type of lettuce is the reason why some salads are so highly celebrated and acclaimed as a main course meal; while others are just a hold-over course, drenched with dressing, that end up being pick-over while waiting for the real meal to arrive.

Basically, there is more to the gluten free and allergen free diet than iceberg lettuce. We deserve a wild, passionate and extreme salad made with lettuce that will knock-you-socks-off every once in a while. 

But where do you start when it comes to educating yourself on these versatile greens? What types of lettuce should the rows of a gluten-free gal’s garden have; taking into consideration she eats salads almost daily? Lettuce show you the way and versatility in the wild world of garden greens:

Basic & Well-Known Lettuces:
Iceberg, Romaine, Red Leaf

Mild & Passive Lettuces: Bibb and Boston

Fun & Fancy Lettuces: Baby Spinach, Curly Endive. Watercress, Frisee

Pack-a-Punch Lettuces:
Arugula, Radicchio, Belgian Endives

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