Bibb lettuce is the lettuce of gourmets. An early spring crop is as easy to grow as any other lettuce. In hot weather, however, it bolts quickly. Matchless lettuce has many of the distinctive qualities of Bibb, but is more heat resistant.
Shallots are a flavoring onion variety often called for in foreign cookery, but next to impossible to buy except in foreign markets. They grow easily from sets, and keep well all winter. The gardener should save part of his crop each year for planting the following season.
Celery, although both a luxury and a money-crop, is too often by-passed by home gardeners. Given rich loose soil and plenty of moisture, it is surprisingly easy to grow in many areas. The difference between the cost of one packet of seed and the market price of the several hundred bunches that can be produced from it can run into high finance.
Neither home gardens nor ordinary markets, as a rule, offer the cook any great variety of fresh herbs. All herbs are easy to grow and require a minimum of care.
Parsley, if seed is planted in early spring, will provide cutting material from late June until early winter, and again early the next spring. This is a biennial and it will go to seed early the second summer, so a new crop must be planted each spring. Soaking the seed in water overnight hastens germination.
Chives are a cut-and-come-again crop, and neatly tied
bundles of freshly cut blades can be sold from earliest spring to very late fall. Established plantings multiply rapidly and should be divided every spring. At this time the youngster can pot up generous clumps for sale. Blossoms should be kept cut back to insure a constant supply of tender blades. When blades begin to discolor at the tips the whole plant should be sheared back almost to the ground. New growth will quickly appear if plants are kept well watered.
A plant or two of tarragon, sage and thyme (all perennials) will provide a whole neighborhood with sprigs. Any other herbs that you think would sell in your community, such as basil, summer savory and chervil, can be easily grown.
Mint, particularly spearmint, should be a good seller. This is a rampant grower, and calls for no gardening skill whatsoever. But desirable as it is for iced tea and other summer drinks, it is not often found in home gardens.
With an herb garden established the young businessman can branch out and market a few special by-products.
He can, for instance, take orders for bouquet garni-a bouquet of fresh herb sprigs often called for in good cookery, but not always available even to housewives with gardens. The bouquet garni may be made in a number of combinations.