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Too late to plant lettuce?

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Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  hitchhiker90 on 4/6/2014, 10:08 am

Hi All,

I would like to get my garden up and running.  I know its been a little cooler than normal in NC lately but is it too late to plant lettuce?  I'm checking the frost dates and one site said last frost is April 25, 2014.  If it is too late for lettuce what can you suggest to plant? Start summer crops now?

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Re: Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  brainchasm on 4/6/2014, 1:11 pm

It's never too late to plant lettuce!  It's a reasonably quick plant if it gets full sun, fair bit slower with more shade, but that shade and good watering will help it keep from bolting as long as possible.

My last frost has come and gone, we're in the 80s this week, and I may STILL plant some lettuce (albeit strategically, in a shadier spot, and only Marvel of Four Seasons).

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Re: Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  Triciasgarden on 4/6/2014, 1:31 pm

I would plant it.  There are many options for you.  You can harvest the outer leaves and let it keep growing.  You can plant more dense than usual and as you thin the lettuce out, you can use the smaller plants in a salad or sandwich.  You will notice how sweet it is.  As it gets warmer, you can create some shade for your lettuce and keep the soil moist to keep it from bolting.  Others have used the Back to Eden method which has kept the soil cooler and they have had lettuce longer.  Look on the Back to Eden topic for info.

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Re: Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  Marc Iverson on 4/6/2014, 2:07 pm

Unless you are very limited in space and there would be a significant opportunity cost in your giving space over to lettuce that would be better used for some other crop, planting lettuce isn't too much of a gamble. Seeds are cheap and come a billion per packet, and transplants in four- and six-packs are usually pretty cheap about now, too. I got a four-pack of romaine lettuce the other day, and if it gets better, I'm out all of a buck fifty and a few spaces in pots.

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Re: Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  walshevak on 4/6/2014, 8:53 pm

I just planted starts and seeds today.  I have started seeds as late as May in a shady spot and got a harvest.

Kay

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Jericho

Post  Windmere on 4/7/2014, 1:04 am

@hitchhiker90 wrote:Hi All,

I would like to get my garden up and running.  I know its been a little cooler than normal in NC lately but is it too late to plant lettuce?  I'm checking the frost dates and one site said last frost is April 25, 2014.  If it is too late for lettuce what can you suggest to plant? Start summer crops now?
Hi hitchhiker90,

I have read that Jericho Lettuce is heat resistant and can buy you a bit more time before it bolts from warm weather.  It was developed in Israel.  I have not planted it yet, so I can't personally attest to its virtues.. but I bought some from Renee's Seeds and I'm hoping to give it a try this season.

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Re: Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  Goosegirl on 4/7/2014, 8:30 am

I planted some Jericho in the middle of last summer. It did wonderfully!

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Re: Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  hitchhiker90 on 4/7/2014, 11:33 am

Thanks all!  Apparently my perceptions of planting lettuce 4 weeks prior to the last frost are not accurate.  I was going to plant some in one square today to see if they grow, if they do then great if not then no real loss. Unfortunately its raining here today so I can't get the garden started. I'll do it tomorrow and see what happens in 4 weeks from now.

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Re: Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/7/2014, 2:00 pm

We grow lettuce all summer long in 100+ degree heat.  Here's a couple things we have done that seems to keep our production for as long as possible:

1.  We plant closely and pick baby leaves, leaving only 2-3 leaves on the plant at a time.  My best guess to why this seems to keep the plants from bolting is that they are working hard to just keep surviving.  Even in the hottest part of the summer we had fresh greens to pick every other day or so.

2.  We use shade cloth (actually last year we used old sheer drapes and they worked perfectly).  

3.  We planted some in pots that we could move around during the summer as shade shifted.  We moved them where they would get a little sun but were lightly shaded during the day.  Our deep shade experiment failed.  We found that some sun but not hot afternoon sun seemed to produce the best results.

4.  If it seems too hot for the seed to germinate, you can start them in the house like you do at the end of winter.  Especially if you have A/C.  Then transplant them outdoors once they're growing.

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Re: Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  walshevak on 4/7/2014, 3:02 pm

@hitchhiker90 wrote:Thanks all!  Apparently my perceptions of planting lettuce 4 weeks prior to the last frost are not accurate.  I was going to plant some in one square today to see if they grow, if they do then great if not then no real loss. Unfortunately its raining here today so I can't get the garden started. I'll do it tomorrow and see what happens in 4 weeks from now.


If the bed is ready, sneak out between rain showers and plant.  You only have to sprinkle a seed or three on top in about 6-8  spots and pat down a little.  Lettuce needs sunlight to germinate.  If they all come up you can let them grow till they touch sides and then harvest to 4 per square or keep the baby greens picked to keep the plants small.

Kay

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A passing after thought

Post  Windmere on 4/7/2014, 4:50 pm

@hitchhiker90 wrote:Thanks all!  Apparently my perceptions of planting lettuce 4 weeks prior to the last frost are not accurate.  I was going to plant some in one square today to see if they grow, if they do then great if not then no real loss. Unfortunately its raining here today so I can't get the garden started. I'll do it tomorrow and see what happens in 4 weeks from now.
Hitchhiker90, I had an after thought about lettuce.  With regard to what you mentioned concerning the early planting of lettuce (on the cold spectrum of time):  In late fall I planted a variety called "Yugoslavian Red Butterhead."  I bought it from Amazon, but it is produced by Seed Savers Exchange.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AEIWU5Q/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1

In my Earth Boxes, they over wintered.  They withstood some bitter cold temps and they are maturing nicely at the moment.  Here's a  shot I took a few minutes ago.  I only covered these when weather was in the teens.



Also, my daughter planted cool weather mesclun greens in the dead of winter, and those came up just fine in one of my 4 x 4 beds.

She planted planted these from Botanical Interests:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005H2NCZQ/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The mesclun mix is also growing well.  We've been harvesting a bit from both varieties by clipping off external leaves.


Last edited by Windmere on 4/7/2014, 5:01 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added a bit more text)

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Re: Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  yolos on 4/7/2014, 9:29 pm

I have heard about this lettuce variety but have never tried it. 

Marvel of Four Seasons

https://botanicalinterests.com/products/view/3058/Lettuce-Butterhead-Marvel-of-Four-
Seasons-Organic-HEIRLOOM-Seeds/srch:marvel%20of%20four%20season

The description says you can plant it all summer.  And it is good for Zone 8 or warmer so must be able to stand the heat well.

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Hmmm....

Post  Windmere on 4/7/2014, 9:37 pm

@yolos wrote:I have heard about this lettuce variety but have never tried it. 

Marvel of Four Seasons

https://botanicalinterests.com/products/view/3058/Lettuce-Butterhead-Marvel-of-Four-
Seasons-Organic-HEIRLOOM-Seeds/srch:marvel%20of%20four%20season

The description says you can plant it all summer.  And it is good for Zone 8 or warmer so must be able to stand the heat well.

And you wonder why I have so many seeds?  Wink

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Re: Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  yolos on 4/7/2014, 10:22 pm

@Windmere wrote:
@yolos wrote:I have heard about this lettuce variety but have never tried it. 

Marvel of Four Seasons

https://botanicalinterests.com/products/view/3058/Lettuce-Butterhead-Marvel-of-Four-
Seasons-Organic-HEIRLOOM-Seeds/srch:marvel%20of%20four%20season

The description says you can plant it all summer.  And it is good for Zone 8 or warmer so must be able to stand the heat well.

And you wonder why I have so many seeds?  Wink
  
 rofl  Aw, come on Windmere, what's one more packet going to hurt.

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Re: Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  Marc Iverson on 4/7/2014, 10:47 pm

Great, everybody's having success growing spring crops in summer and fall crops in winter and right-side-up plants upside-down and I have to plant and replant and pray and curse and threaten just to not kill my midget plants off growing them the normal way; using no insecticides and having their compost piles heat up nicely; doing a happy dance while I'm rumplestilskinning a red hot hole in the ground ... the heck with you guys! ;D

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Re: Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/7/2014, 11:03 pm

@yolos wrote:
@Windmere wrote:
@yolos wrote:I have heard about this lettuce variety but have never tried it. 

Marvel of Four Seasons

https://botanicalinterests.com/products/view/3058/Lettuce-Butterhead-Marvel-of-Four-
Seasons-Organic-HEIRLOOM-Seeds/srch:marvel%20of%20four%20season

The description says you can plant it all summer.  And it is good for Zone 8 or warmer so must be able to stand the heat well.

And you wonder why I have so many seeds?  Wink
  
 rofl  Aw, come on Windmere, what's one more packet going to hurt.
You guys make me laugh so much my husband thinks I'm losing my mind in my office (where, by the way, I'm SUPPOSED to be working)  I LOVE this lettuce.  I 'll take some pictures tomorrow.  It's a red, crinkly variety that grew really strongly all winter long.  A couple of the plants are starting to go to seed so I'm going to gather more seed - I can certainly trade for things I don't have if anyone is interested Smile

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Re: Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  walshevak on 4/8/2014, 10:36 am

@Marc Iverson wrote:Great, everybody's having success growing spring crops in summer and fall crops in winter and right-side-up plants upside-down and I have to plant and replant and pray and curse and threaten just to not kill my midget plants off growing them the normal way; using no insecticides and having their compost piles heat up nicely;  doing a happy dance while I'm rumplestilskinning a red hot hole in the ground ... the heck with you guys! ;D

Are we trying too hard to be too perfect??


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Re: Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  sanderson on 4/8/2014, 1:36 pm

Pogo, a blast to my childhood.

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Re: Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/8/2014, 1:47 pm

Okay, here's the Marvel of Four Seasons Lettuce.  They are the red lettuce to the left.  They form nice heads, I just never let them get to that point as I keep picking the outer leaves about every other day.  I planted these in October and they have produced all winter long.  They are just starting to go to seed so I will plant some more and harvest the seed from these.

They survived our lowest temps of 22 degrees.  I'm fairly certain that these plants were in my greenhouse at that time but not inside the inner second covered layer with heat.  The greenhouse itself only provides maybe 5 degrees of protection within the fabric walls.  Kaleb Warnock grew these outside, in cold frames as low as -15 degrees.


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Nice

Post  Windmere on 4/8/2014, 3:33 pm

Wow, those are beautiful.  What an interesting color they would add to a salad.  Thanks for posting a picture.

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Re: Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  yolos on 4/8/2014, 5:32 pm

Very pretty, thank you for the pictures.

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Re: Too late to plant lettuce?

Post  Marc Iverson on 4/8/2014, 8:53 pm

@walshevak wrote:
@Marc Iverson wrote:Great, everybody's having success growing spring crops in summer and fall crops in winter and right-side-up plants upside-down and I have to plant and replant and pray and curse and threaten just to not kill my midget plants off growing them the normal way; using no insecticides and having their compost piles heat up nicely;  doing a happy dance while I'm rumplestilskinning a red hot hole in the ground ... the heck with you guys! ;D

Are we trying too hard to be too perfect??


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"We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us"

Pogo by Walt Kelly

Just joking around. I've had my flops, but I've had successes too. Considering how hard last year was for so many home gardeners around here, I probably did okay. If you asked the critters who ate 2/3's of my tomatoes, they'd probably say my summer was a bonanza.

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