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Saturday Essay

| Friday, May 18, 2012, 5:46 p.m.

The only thing constant in greenhousing is change. And things are changing rapidly and early this year.

The Roman Delight lettuce, ready to bolt, is exhausted. Nearly 30 of the loose, tender heads made for great salads on many a neighborhood dinner table.

And now coming in is the piece de resistance for many salad lovers -- the Romaine. So robust it is that only three tasty leaves could make for a filling meal. (But, hey, why not add a fourth?)

The soil in the pots of the devoured Roman Delight has been reconstituted; extra spinach and additional flat parsley, the latter of which will join the celery tops to be cut and sun-dried for winter use, already are thriving. Once the Romaine is gone, baby carrots will join the nursery.

Change won't come as often when June bows and spring escapes. The greenhouse, rounded out with peppers and assorted herbs, will fall into a nice summer-long routine of grow-grow-grow, cut-cut-cut and pick-pick-pick, as will the rest of this year's vegetable crop in the adjacent five raised beds.

On wind-swept stormy days, residents of the greenhouse will boast of their safety. On pristine sunny days, tenants of the beds will tout their liberty. But no matter the weather, the proprietor will revisit his crops several times a day and, as Nathaniel Hawthorne once put it, "stand in deep contemplation over my ... progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation."

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