heart lettuce

You could say I’m a bit of a word nerd. When my husband makes a clever play on words in Spanish, it’s almost as if he’s saying “te amo”.

Nothing says “olive youon Valentine’s Day like a corny pun on a cutesy card, along with a heartfelt message, and chocolate, of course. For inspiration and proof of love that stands the test of time, take this pair of granny and gramps cabbage patch heads avowing “Lettuce grow old and wilted together. Aww…

You may think puns are cheesy (“you’re the mac to my cheese), but there’s a certain truth to this message. Lettuce and Valentine’s Day have a long history. They go back way before Etsy was invented. Just ask any wilted, I mean wrinkly, wise farmer in the lower Midwest.

Lettuce is a cold weather plant and farmer wisdom says it can be seeded once all the snow has melted. When that is depends on your hardiness zone, but at least for zone 4-6 in the U.S. it’s right around February 14. Coincidence? I think not.

So this Valentine’s Day, why don’t you show your love for the earth by getting intimate in your gardening space?

Growing your own food creates a powerful union between yourself and the environment, and doing it organically is a way to detoxify and give your body some lovin’.

Lettuce is regularly on the Environmental Working Group’s dirty dozen list of the most pesticide-polluted produce sold in the United States. Spinach, another hardy winter green, also consistently makes the list. For your health and our environment, it’s better to buy these vegetables organically or grow your own.

If it’s your significant other who has the green thumb, show how much you appreciate this talent to make edible things magically appear from the ground. Give a Valentine’s Day gift that you’ll both be able to appreciate long after those red roses (read more on the Thorny Side of Valentine’s Day Roses) have died: a bouquet of seeds (plus it costs pennies to the dollar).

The Seed Savers Exchange has suggested the most romantic Heirloom seeds to heat up your cold-frame. Who knew that chocolate could be so easy to grow, and guilt-free to eat!

Besides lettuce, on lover’s day you can also put cabbage, spinach, radishes, parsley, or beets into a hoop house or indoor trays.

Don’t worry if you seem to kill even ivy without trying to. We’ll go over the easiest houseplants to grow for your health this winter. You’ll see how even urbanites can make space for some green in their apartment year-round.

Come next year, on February 14th you’ll be able to graduate in gardening sophistication to say

“I artichoke heart you”.


If you like this article you may like:

The Thorny Side of Valentine’s Roses



Carrie is an environmental educator, anthropologist, and translator. She took her passions for ecological, health, and women’s rights advocacy from the offices of Washington, D.C. to the streets of South America. Now in Colombia, she is slowly opening women’s eyes to the wonders of “la copita de luna” (Moon Cup) and Keepers.



photo via Bellbirds & Pea Shoots


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