Lettuce is a funny thing. It gets my vote as the unsung hero of the vegetable world. It’s everywhere; slipped between salami slices, shredded in salads and sequestered as a side-garnish. I don’t have the statistic but I’m positive lettuce is one of the most consumed veggies out there.
Personally though, I don’t touch the stuff. It tastes like dirty water. My allegiance lies with lettuce’s distant cousins, spinach and arugula.
So why even give lettuce the time of day? Well, because in our household, we have four big fat guinea pigs that slop down lettuce like it’s going out of style. Between the lot of them, they eat a large head of the green stuff every two days. If you are starting to do the math on that, here, let me do it for you: Roughly 182 heads per year.
And if the guinea pigs fill their lifespan of 5-8 years, we’re looking at making 900 lettuce purchases. In case you are not aware, lettuce ranges in price from 99 cents in the summer, to $4 per head at the end of winter. If an average price is taken ($2.50/head), another quick calculation will show that my household will spend approximately $2,250 to feed a quartet of critters some leafy greens.
Though chances are, that you’re probably not hoarding guinea pigs like me. If this is the case, worry not, as you still can benefit by saving on a human-lifetime’s worth of lettuce consumption. Plus urban farming is trendy and hip, so what better way to delve in than by stump-growing a head of crispy Romaine or succulent Boston Butter?
So it was with delight that I randomly came across an article demonstrating how a new head can be regrown from a normally discarded lettuce-stump. At this discovery, I did a little dance, celebrating how the internet just put 450 lettuce-heads back on the shelf and $1,125 back into my pocket.
The even better part? Growing a second head is ridiculously simple:
- Save a lettuce stump
- Place in an inch of water
- The lettuce starts to regrow within 24 hours
After a week and a half
To keep the water fresh, change it every day. Keep doing this until the stump grows small roots. The leaves can either be eaten then or the stump can be transferred into soil for full, sustained growth.
As I was looking into this, I also learned that other vegetables can be regrown from stumps: celery, garlic, onions and from some reports, even cabbage (I wonder if bok choy would work?). Of course the idea of growing new plants from cuttings, roots and shoots isn’t new, in fact, it’s very old – ancient even. So what really ‘gets’ me about this lettuce trick, is that it’s one of those rare things that just works. I’ve got the furthest thing from a green-thumb and even my lettuce-stumps are thriving.
So this is my official thank you to the internet. You’ve come through in a big way and I’m here to pay it forward. And to pose the question: Can a third head be grown from the stump of the second? I’ll soon find out.
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