Growing lettuce is easy. But the secret to having lettuce continually through fall, winter, spring and almost all of the summer is continual planting and different varieties.
If you live in Virginia or climates where the night time temperatures are hovering between 30 and 32 with an occasional dip into the 20s you’ve probably started your lettuce already. If you haven’t — today might be a good day to get started.
If you don’t want to or can’t direct sow into the garden right now try the wintersown method for starting your seed. My lettuces wintersown the first part of January germinated rather quickly. Some have already been transplanted to the garden.
Since each variety will perform and act a bit differently than any other variety — grow at least several. (I’m growing more than a dozen varieties this year.) That way you can shorten the learning curve for knowing what will do best for you and be the most delicious to your taste-buds.
And remember nothing is wasted since lettuce seed can stay viable for years if you keep if dry, cool and in the dark.
Here’s My Overall Plan for insuring that I have an ongoing supply of lettuce through Spring and Summer after my wintered-over lettuces are gone. If you don’t already have a plan — maybe mine will give you some ideas.
- Seeded several varieties via the wintersown method in January. Will continue to start more using this method.
- Direct seeded the loose leaf Black Seeded Simpson into the garden on January 20th in hoop tunnel bed. It’s up and looking good.
- Transplanted two varieties yesterday to the hoop tunnel beds that were germinated via the wintersown method.
- Will transplant more this week to hoop tunnel bed.
- Will transplant more to beds without the hoop tunnel.
- Will direct seed more into the garden. (If temperatures take a severe drop below about 27 or so — I’ll add an additional layer of light straw or row cover fabric to protect the seedlings.)
- Will repeat this plan of action planting several varieties each week through May.
(Most of the lettuces I start in April and especially May will be the ones that will need to tolerate the hot days of summer. I’ll chose those that are known to tolerate heat and slow to bolt like Jericho and Nevada.)
That delicious flavor of homegrown is more than worth the tiny effort it takes to get it.
Even if you don’t need much, try planting at least a dozen or so seeds of several varieties every week from now through May. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll enjoy having fresh varieties of lettuce in your garden from now through the summer. And the taste is unbeatable.
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