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Summer-long Lettuce?

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Summer-long Lettuce?

Post  Finch on 5/19/2010, 4:17 pm

Does anyone in the South grow lettuce all summer? I've been ripping out the bitter stuff already, very sad to see it go. Does shading help? Any favorite summer varieties?

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the bitter end

Post  SirTravers on 5/19/2010, 4:30 pm

I'm holding out to the "Bitter End" lol!
I've got buttercrunch lettuce that seems to be ok as long as I'm picking the fresh leaves within a day or two of them filling out. Any week old leaves or dry tips are going into the compost.

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Summer-long Lettuce?

Post  GloriaG on 5/19/2010, 5:20 pm

Hi Finch,

I'm growing a lettuce mixture in self-watering containers under partial shade and they're still doing great! No dry outer leaves, or bitter flavor. Not sure - but I think the combination of constant water supply and some shading during the heat of the day will help it last longer. I hope so!

Gloria

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Re: Summer-long Lettuce?

Post  junequilt on 5/19/2010, 5:39 pm

Which type of self-watering box do you have, GloriaG?

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Salf-watering boxes

Post  GloriaG on 5/20/2010, 8:02 pm

Hi junequilt,

I have two types - the first is traditional "Earth Boxes" that I bought from a garden supply store. The second type I made myself. Once I got the Earth Boxes home, I realized I could make them fairly easily and MUCH less expensively.

Here's what they look like:


The two rectangular ones are the "official" Earth Boxes with my Tomatoes. The square one is "home made" with my Shallots.



Here's another home made version with bush beans.



And another with cucumbers, lettuce and a blueberry bush starting.


They aren't hard to make. It just takes a little planning and I really like the self-watering part here in Texas because it get's so hot. We'll be making a new one this weekend for our Okra so I'll see if I can't get some photos for you.

Thanks
Gloria

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Question for Gloria

Post  jenjehle on 5/20/2010, 9:54 pm

Gloria,


About your Earth Box... what makes it self watering and how did you "make" one yourself?

Thanks!

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Salf-watering boxes

Post  GloriaG on 5/20/2010, 11:02 pm

Hi jenjehle,

Self-watering boxes (aka self-watering containers) have a water reservoir inside the bottom of the pot with a wick that draws water from the reservoir into the soil. The reservoir is separated from the potting mix by a plastic grate (grid) that is covered with landscape fabric to prevent the mix from falling through.

To water, you simply use the built-in tube to fill the reservoir daily and let the excess run out an overflow hole in the side of the pot.

The plants take up as much or as little water as they want. Self-watering pots are wonderful in our hot summer weather because I don't have to worry that my plants will dry out too much. The opposite is true however in colder/damper climates where over-watering can be a problem.

I'll post some pictures after we finish the new one this weekend.
Thanks
Gloria




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Re: Summer-long Lettuce?

Post  timwardell on 5/20/2010, 11:03 pm

Finch wrote:Does anyone in the South grow lettuce all summer? I've been ripping out the bitter stuff already, very sad to see it go. Does shading help? Any favorite summer varieties?
My Simpson Elite and Bronze Arrowhead are hanging in there but I don't know for how much longer. My other varieties went bitter last week (but oh what a month of salad eating I had!). I often dream of picking tomatoes AND lettuce from my garden at the same time for the same bowl of salad instead of one or the other.

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Re: Summer-long Lettuce?

Post  junequilt on 5/21/2010, 11:41 am

Isn't romaine supposed to be more heat-tolerant and last longer in hot weather than other lettuces? I've never grown it so I can't speak from experience -- just reiterating what I've read in gardening mags.

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Re: Summer-long Lettuce?

Post  Finch on 5/23/2010, 2:57 pm

Tim: EXACTLY.

I've heard Romaine is heat-tollerant but don't care for it much. Kinda tough, but better than nothing I guess.

Gloria: I've had my eye on those very planters for a while. Very interesting! Please do post pictures when you make another. I'm thinking of trying lettuce (in planters, on a deck) under my 3-ft eaves where I can control the light and the water. I MUST have lettuce. My favorite thing in the garden is going over the fence to the neighbors' horses.

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Self-watering planter instructions

Post  GloriaG on 5/27/2010, 1:25 am

As promised, Here are the pics and instructions for the self-watering planter we made last weekend.

I used a 16" x 16" x 14" deep plastic planter but you could modify any planter that was deep enough and doesn't have drainage holes. The key is that there can't be holes before you start.

Materials required:

  • 1 planter without holes deep enough to hold your plant PLUS the water reservoir
  • Plastic grid to fit your pot (The kind used on the bottom of 2'x4'
    fluorescent lights works well)
  • 1 square plastic orchid pot 2 1/2" or 3" size
  • Approximately 1 foot of 1 1/4" PVC pipe
  • Approximately 14" of 3/4" PVC pipe
  • Enough landscape fabric to cover the inside bottom of the pot
Approximate Cost: $26 with lots of material left for additional pots

  • $15 for the planter
  • $7 for the plastic grid (enough to make 4 SW Planters),
  • $1 for the orchid pot,
  • $3 for the PVC (enough to make 8 SW planters),
  • leftover landscape fabric

This is the planter with the piece of plastic grid, small orchid pot, and large PVC that will be used for the first step.



1. Cut the 1/1/4" PVC into four 2 1/2" lengths - these will become the inside supports for the plastic grid
2. Cut the grid to fit the inside dimensions of your planter, 2 1/2" above the bottom of the planter
3. Cut a hole in the center of the grid to fit the small orchid pot




4. Drill 1/4" holes in the PVC pipes and orchid pots to allow water to move freely through them



5. Next, drill three 1/4 (or larger) holes in the SIDE of your planter at the water line - just below where the plastic grid will sit when it's in the planter. THIS IS IMPORTANT. These holes are the overflow for the reservoir and must be below the bottom of the soil or your plant will be too wet. On my planter this measured 2" from the bottom of the planter because of the arch in the bottom






6. Place the four PVC supports into the corners of the planter and lay the grid on top. Drop the small orchid pot into the center hole. This will be the "wick" to permit the plant to draw water from the reservoir.

Here's what the planter should look like now.



Next you'll need the 3/4" PVC for your fill tube and the landscape cloth.



7. Drill several 1/4" holes in the bottom 2" of the small PVC pipe and cut out a section like this:



8: Notch a corner of the grid to permit the fill tube to be inserted all the way to the bottom of the planter
9. Insert fill tube so that the notch is facing the center of the planter
10. If you want, you can glue all the parts together to prevent them from moving

Your planter should now look like this:



11. Cut your landscape fabric to completely cover the grid and fit snugly around the orchid pot wick.



As you are filling the planter with Mels Mix, be sure that the landscape fabric stays against the sides of the planter and that the Mels Mix you use to fill the wick is moist.

I hope you find this information useful. The SW planter is really easy to make and we've had good luck with them in our hot weather.

Thanks
Gloria

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Self-watering planter instructions

Post  trukrebew on 5/27/2010, 1:35 am

Wow! Nice work on this tutorial Gloria! cheers

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Re: Summer-long Lettuce?

Post  camprn on 5/27/2010, 6:09 am

This tutorial is great. Gloria, would you post it again in a new thread labeled self watering container? It would be perfect for a Wiki thread...

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Re: Summer-long Lettuce?

Post  GloriaG on 5/27/2010, 9:51 am

Hi camprn,

I'll be happy to do that if you'll tell me where to put it. What's a "Wiki thread".
Thanks
Gloria

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Re: Summer-long Lettuce?

Post  junequilt on 5/27/2010, 12:25 pm

SO impressive, Gloria! Can't wait to get started making a few -- thanks so much!

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Re: Summer-long Lettuce?

Post  jkdistad on 5/27/2010, 12:55 pm

hmmmmm.... I smell a project..... hehehe...

That's a GREAT tutorial, Gloria!


*thinks of ways to convince DH*

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Re: Summer-long Lettuce?

Post  kkalasa on 5/27/2010, 3:14 pm

Wow what a great tutorial! Thanks, I can't wait to try this.

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Re: Summer-long Lettuce?

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