Saxon Holt

Grow lettuce between pavers for a playful patio floor

Julie Chai,  – November 29, 2005

Planting between pavers usually calls for predictable groundcovers such as creeping herbs, mosses, or reseeding annuals.

But Randi Herman wanted something different for her 13- by 19-foot dining patio in Berkeley. So she teamed up with garden designer Raul Zumba to create the edible display pictured here.

For the spaces between the Arizona limestone pavers, the two chose a colorful mix of butter and ‘Red Oak Leaf’ lettuce, mixed greens, and beets; the crops add visual interest to the patio floor and, at the same time, supply greens for salads and sandwiches. Randi and her husband, Steve, call this sunny area of their garden the Salad Bar.

Randi and Zumba blended packaged planting soil with native soil, then packed the mixture into the irregular 1- to 4-inch-wide gaps between the pavers.

Then they scattered the seeds, using 10 seed packets to cover all the spaces.

Irrigated daily for five minutes with an automatic overhead spray, the seedlings emerged in two weeks, then grew into lush plants just two weeks later.

Randi harvested the butter lettuce a head at a time through fall, and left the remaining plants to grow as decoration.

Design: Raul Zumba, Zumba Gardens, Oakland (510/703-8146)