Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Growing lettuce

I don't make any claims about being an expert gardener.  It's only been a hobby of mine for a few years.  I continue to learn a lot each growing season.  That said, I've always heard that lettuce is a cool weather crop and that it doesn't do well in the summer.  Well, I've been having pretty good luck with it this year.

I've tried direct sowing lettuce before.  I don't get good results.  Why?  The seeds are so small that I just toss them.  Then stuff grows and I don't thin it out properly.  I always feel bad about yanking plants out that are growing well.  Then they get too crowded and don't do well.  I've found that I can avoid this by starting lettuce in pots.  I throw in a pinch of seeds and when they first sprout I take out all but one of them. 

A few weeks ago (probably in May) I started lettuce seeds in my garage.   It took them a while to get going, but they've done well.  I've kept them under shop lights.  Rather than dealing with watering each individual container I put them in trays.  Then I pour the water in the tray and it gets absorbed from the bottom up.
I started a lot Romaine, and some leaf lettuce
I've been slowly transplanting the lettuce from the garage to my raised beds.  I haven't done it all at once for two reasons.  One, I haven't had room in the raised beds.  And two, if I stagger the plantings then I can stagger my harvests. 
Romaine at various stages of growth.
There are two big Romaine heads in the back and a smaller one in front.

I cut back my oregano to make room for this one.
This is some leaf lettuce I put in the other day. 
I even put lettuce in my front island next to a blueberry bush.

After cutting bunch of lettuce for dinner tonight I had room for this one.  It was a little sad, but some water should cheer it up.

1 comment:

  1. Great garden! I also do head lettuce from transplants but the salad mix stuff I do from seed; I toss them in the beds and don't bother to thin them because you can just cut the outer leaves as the plant grows (I too hate thinning my plants)!

    I also found out (and tested) that you can cut the whole baby lettuce plant off about one inch above the soil and the thing will grow back again, maybe two or three times! I nibbled on the outer leaves of some salad lettuce, then lopped the whole thing off two weeks later and its grown back, ready to be harvested again! I honestly haven't had any troubles growing lettuce in the summer here, but at night we cool off quite a bit--usually into the 60s--so the lettuce hasn't had the urge to bolt on me yet...

    Best o' luck in your garden! ^_^