|Red Iceberg Lettuce - a summer rose!|
After misting the soil so it is good and damp, we sprinkle the lettuce seeds with our finger-tips trying to have a 100 or so seeds per tofu tub. Lastly we gently sprinkle a thin lay of cover soil over the seeds and lightly mist to settle the seeds. They must be kept moist but not overly wet or the seeds and starts may rot. Lettuce seed germinates best in a cool soil so don't put it on a heat mat or under a lamp to get it to germinate.
|Lettuce seedlings in a tofu container. Using a pen to make holes for transplants.|
|Transplanting peas and lettuce|
|Several weeks after transplanting. Picking individual lettuce leaves for salad.|
|Chris Burns with beautiful lettuce harvest! 2011|
Fall Crops: Give yourself 45 - 60 days (before hard freezing) to grow your fall crops of lettuce. You can assist your lettuce in germinating if you begin the process in a shaded area so the soil isn't too warm. Once seedlings come up, they will need sunlight to grow but do this outside of the greenhouse so they don't get too hot. Heat triggers the plants to "bolt" (go to seed) even when the plants are very young.
Favorite varieties: Everyone who eats out of our gardens seems to prefer green lettuce to red, or at least to have some green to mix in with the red. (This even includes the bugs who seem to devour the green lettuce much more voraciously!) Our recipients also seem to prefer head lettuce to the "leaf" lettuce. We don't know why this is (maybe just habit...) but we take this into consideration when we plant out our gardens. There are hundreds of varieties of lettuce to choose from. The most popular ones we grew this year were:
Green and Red Iceberg (home-grown Iceberg lettuce is much more nutritious than store-bought).
Four Seasons (a red Romaine-type lettuce)
Next installment: How to Save Lettuce Seed