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Tip for Succession Planting Lettuces

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Tip for Succession Planting Lettuces

Post  gwennifer on 12/28/2012, 8:32 pm

Lettuces, spinach, arugula, and other crops that you grow to harvest young tender greens from can be succession planted to always have a fresh supply ready to pluck. See the chart on page 255 of the ANSFG book for a schedule for continuous harvest of lettuce for example. But how many of you are like me and somehow never get around to sowing more seed?

When I saw this winning reader tip in the February 2013 edition of Fine Gardening Magazine I had to share:

One seeding for a season of salads

Lettuce, especially for salad lovers, is a crop that should be sown every two weeks in the growing season - rather than having it all mature at once - so that you will have a continual crop of lettuce ready for picking. I always had difficulty remembering to get out the seeds and the soil on schedule, and I would go weeks and weeks between seedings. I then discovered that if I seeded a lot of lettuce all at once into the small Styrofoam cells of seed trays, the seedlings stayed small until I transplanted them out. So rather than sowing every two weeks, I simply transplant another six to 12 seedlings into six-packs every two weeks, where the additional root space allows them to grow quickly to planting size. The ones left behind in the cells stay small and wait their turn. In this manner, I can get four to six months of lettuce from one seeding. I plant six to eight varieties, and I enjoy homegrown salad every night.
-Sara Malone,
Petaluma, California

I don't have Styrofoam seed trays, just plastic, but I can't imagine what difference that would make. I'm going to try it. What do you all think?
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Re: Tip for Succession Planting Lettuces

Post  Triciasgarden on 12/28/2012, 9:41 pm

I think it is a great idea, quite clever about the seedlings staying small and waiting their turn to be transplanted! The author may have used styrofoam but to me there would be no difference if you use plastic! I have put notations of things to plant in my planner and get them planted most of the time, but not always, even with that reminder.
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Re: Tip for Succession Planting Lettuces

Post  gwennifer on 12/29/2012, 12:42 am

It's getting the seeds back out again that I always fail at. I tend to have a once and done attitude. I water the garden daily, and so I certainly am physically there and can see and then remember that I need to plant some more seeds. But once I go back in the house, it's like, "Oh well - I can do it tomorrow". Then I forget again!

I also like this idea since starting the seeds is more work than maintaining the plants. Don't have to fuss over getting new seedlings to germinate again and again. Trickier with lettuce crops for me than others.
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Re: Tip for Succession Planting Lettuces

Post  cheyannarach on 12/29/2012, 10:32 am

Awe man, I have been trying to figure out what to start indoors and what to direct sow and lettuce was one of the first ones to go to direct seed only but now I am going to have to rethink this, that is a great idea and I started lettuce indoors last year and it did stay small until put outside then did really well. Weird how it makes more sense when you hear it from someone else, lol, thanks for the post!
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Re: Tip for Succession Planting Lettuces

Post  quiltbea on 12/29/2012, 11:11 am

I, too, write things in my daily journal to remind myself, but sometimes I'm too busy and forget to sow a few more seeds.
Now I just sow a bunch of asstd seeds, in the leafy lettuces like Red Sails, Thom Thumb, Simpsons Elite and others which I can "cut and come again." This way I can have some whenever I feel like a salad. The plants will regrow. I have cut back some varieties up to 4 times during the spring.

Here's some lettuce big enuf to cut.

After cutting back.

Here are a couple of pots I keep outside my kitchen door that are regrowing back. These came back 4 times. I do the same in my reaised beds.
So if you can't remember to resow, just cut back.
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Re: Tip for Succession Planting Lettuces

Post  plantoid on 12/29/2012, 7:50 pm

@gwennifer wrote:Lettuces, spinach, arugula, and other crops that you grow to harvest young tender greens from can be succession planted to always have a fresh supply ready to pluck. See the chart on page 255 of the ANSFG book for a schedule for continuous harvest of lettuce for example. But how many of you are like me and somehow never get around to sowing more seed?

When I saw this winning reader tip in the February 2013 edition of Fine Gardening Magazine I had to share:

One seeding for a season of salads

Lettuce, especially for salad lovers, is a crop that should be sown every two weeks in the growing season - rather than having it all mature at once - so that you will have a continual crop of lettuce ready for picking. I always had difficulty remembering to get out the seeds and the soil on schedule, and I would go weeks and weeks between seedings. I then discovered that if I seeded a lot of lettuce all at once into the small Styrofoam cells of seed trays, the seedlings stayed small until I transplanted them out. So rather than sowing every two weeks, I simply transplant another six to 12 seedlings into six-packs every two weeks, where the additional root space allows them to grow quickly to planting size. The ones left behind in the cells stay small and wait their turn. In this manner, I can get four to six months of lettuce from one seeding. I plant six to eight varieties, and I enjoy homegrown salad every night.
-Sara Malone,
Petaluma, California

I don't have Styrofoam seed trays, just plastic, but I can't imagine what difference that would make. I'm going to try it. What do you all think?

I've been using the small plastic or cardboard vending machine drinks cup . , push a sharp point through the bottoms and half fill with fine vermiculite (You can reuse the vermiculite several times if you sterilize it with a boiling water on an old towel , put the vermiculite inside first .
Leave it to go cold don't get it sopping wet though )

I sowed three lettuce seeds on top of the dry vermiculite then sprinkled a very very thin covering of it over them , every ten days and had 100% sucess rate when it came to planting them out ..used and old tea spoon to lift up each plant once it had been well wetted/soaked for an hour or so , carefully tipped it all out on a plastic tray & lifted each individual plant into a pre watered hole. The sown pots were stood in 1/2" of water for ten minutes to get them damp enough for the germination to take place.
You always ensure you have two or three cups of growing lettuce plants to give one of 1 " high plants every 10 days . I used a chinagraph pencil to write the dates on each cup.

I also had two mixed leaf CCA strips 12 inches long and never took more than 3 inches of cut a day off a strip . Simply work your way along one strip over four days and the other strip had usually grown enough to carry on harvesting .
They ran amok whilst we were on holiday so I immediately soaked some new seeds for three hours and ran them with the water out of a plastic bag with a tiny corner snipped off along two new one foot rows elsewhere in the beds.
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Re: Tip for Succession Planting Lettuces

Post  gwennifer on 12/29/2012, 10:15 pm

Oh my Plantoid - were you trying to make that sound easy? Just reading that wore me out! Razz
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Re: Tip for Succession Planting Lettuces

Post  plantoid on 12/30/2012, 1:13 pm

@gwennifer wrote:Oh my Plantoid - were you trying to make that sound easy? Just reading that wore me out! Razz

Too much peapod wine gwinnifer ??? Laughing It is so simple ,once you catch it by the tail you'll smile for a whole year & a day .

Re read it sleep on it and .. it will still confuse you ??? Laughing

Happy new year
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Re: Tip for Succession Planting Lettuces

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