Lettuce is regarded as a cool-season vegetable, and in most home gardens, it is planted in the early spring, harvested in late spring to early summer, and then discarded in favor of other vegetables for the middle of the summer.Depending on the variety you plant, lettuce seeds can begin germinating in temperatures between 40 and 85 degrees.You can start harvesting leaf lettuces as soon as the outer leaves reach about 4 to 6 inches in height.Not only do you get to start harvesting early, but cutting like this tends to shock the lettuce plant, preventing it from thinking it has matured and is ready to bolt and go to seed.Grand Rapids types with broad, crinkled, frilly, loose leaves.Allowing leaves to become large and mature signals the plant to send up seed bolts, which is the point where it will no longer be edible.Keep your leaf lettuce cropped short, even if it means discarding some leaves because there is more than you can eat.The lettuce leaves are mostly water and will desiccate and wilt in strong sunlight and dry soil.If all else fails and it looks like your lettuce plants are ready to bolt, dig them out of the ground and replant them.As with "cut and come again" harvesting, this is a shock to the plant's system, and it will once again focus on growing roots and delay setting seed.Don't keep them out of the ground or allow the plants to dry out—just the act of lifting them and immediately replanting is enough of a shock.The early-season planting of lettuce can be harvested into early summer if you follow the previous tips, but eventually, it will surrender to genetics and bolt with flower shoots.Find a somewhat shady spot in your garden, and give it a deep soaking of water.Once the plants are a few inches tall and ready to start harvesting, they should not need a great deal of additional water. .

A Very Plastic Free July

In honor of Plastic-Free July, we’re sharing some insights on how we’ve set out to reduce waste - and some ideas on how you can join the movement.When we set out to design Farmstands, we held ourselves to a high standard.Ultimately, we ended up striving for even more, manufacturing Farmstands using plastic milk jugs that were once destined for the ocean.Some reusable straws even fold up, so you can take them on the go with ease.A little planning goes a long way when it comes to eliminating single-use plastic bottles and straws.Take them to clothing stores, libraries, hardware stores and other retailers that use plastic bags. .

Grow Lettuce in Summer

Once temperatures rise above 80°F, lettuce will normally start to “bolt” or stop leaf production and send up a stalk to flower and produce seed.This is because the mainstay of our beloved salads is not a North American native, but an ancient part of our dinner table.They cultivated lettuce from a weed used only for its oil-rich seeds to a valued food with succulent leaves that nourished both the mind and libido.Images in tombs of lettuce being used in religious ceremonies show its prominent place in Egyptian culture.The earliest domesticated form resembled a large head of Romaine lettuce, which was passed to the Greeks and then the Romans.Around 50 AD, Roman agriculturalist Columella described several lettuce cultivars, some of which are recognizable as ancestors to our current favorites.Because lettuce has wide and shallow roots, a drip system on a timer teamed up with a thick mulch keeps it happier in warm weather.Reducing sun exposure lowers the heat to the leaves, but also to the soil and roots – creating a combined benefit.Deep shade isn’t good, but a system allowing sun during the morning while sheltering the plants in the afternoon keeps your salad machines going much longer than you thought possible.This trait is a carryover from wild lettuce in the Mediterranean Middle East, where summers are hot with little moisture.The three most effective elements in keeping your lettuce producing during warm weather are a drip system on a timer, a good bed of mulch and shade.When the roots have moisture, they can withstand the heat and drying effects better without losing health and slowing production.A thick bed of mulch reduces moisture loss at the surface of the soil from heat and breezes.We use two inches of wood chip mulch, but straw also works well and some gardeners have good success with well-aged compost.The beds where we’ve put wood chips down have three times the amount of earthworm activity as those that have only compost or nothing at all.We used high tunnels covered with 40% shade cloth, combined with drip irrigation and were able to produce crops of lettuce (10 cultivars) and Asian greens (5 types) throughout the summer.Trials were conducted at three locations, two of them working organic farms, and the other an agricultural experiment station in order to produce statistically valid experimental results.The second example is a two-season grow-out test by the Sacramento County Master Gardeners at their Fair Oaks Horticulture Center during the summers of 2015 and 2016.There are some small holes and some of the leaf edges are a little toasty, but these conditions are so far outside of lettuce comfort zone, it’s like growing on Mars! .

Year-Round Growing? Yes, You Can!

By starting with strong seedlings and making sure they grow in a nutrient rich, pH-balanced environment with consistent hydration, we can extend the growing season through the hottest parts of summer and well into winter.For plants, the temperature of the roots matters more than the temperature of the air.Too Cold for Greens?Growing Indoors. .

Growing Lettuce in Hot Weather

Even if you find yourself alone trying to raise lettuce in hot weather or other summer crops, you have all the knowledge gathered from other gardeners over your lifetime.To keep the leafy vegetable fresh for several days after harvesting, dig up the entire plant and put the roots into a flowerpot or plastic bag, then treat it as a houseplant.The plant will continue to grow if given bright light and you can harvest the leaves for garden salads as needed.Since the crops will mature quickly under the hottest conditions, it is a good idea to plant types that will be able to stand up to the summer sun such as heat-resistant Oakleaf, Summerbib, Slobolt, and Matchless.A vegetable gardening tip for growing lettuce in hot weather is to plant varieties that are suitable to warm conditions.For example, plant the vegetable on the north side of the corn patch or some other shady area where the intense midday sun will not hit it directly.For instance, in April, the March sowing is ready to be transplanted to the vegetable garden at 10 inch spacing.Spray the newly set out seedlings with a mixture of foliar fertilizer and water to quickly get the lettuce in hot weather producing.Leaf lettuce does not store well and chances are if you do harvest extra heads, they will only end up going in the compost pile. .

How To Grow Salad Greens All Year

The gardens around my home in Richmond, VT, include a large vegetable garden, seasonal greenhouse, cutting garden, perennial gardens, rock garden, shade garden, berry plantings, lots of container plants and a meadow garden.Salad greens growing under a Salad greens growing under a shade net , where they are protected from intense summer heat.If you garden anywhere other than the cool Northwest, it's unlikely you can offer these ideal growing conditions for more than about 60 days each year.This arugula will be harvested when the leaves are still in the small "baby" stage.This arugula will be harvested when the leaves are still in the small "baby" stage.Seed starting.To harvest high-quality salad greens almost every month of the year, you need to maintain a ready supply of young transplants.When starting seeds right in the garden, I use two techniques.The other technique is to sow seeds right in a bed where I want them to grow.Lettuce and other salad greens are shallow-rooted and grow rapidly.In late winter or early spring, when nighttime temperatures hover around 25 degrees, sow some seeds and transplant some little transplants into the garden and cover them with Garden Quilt.Hoops to support garden fabric can remain in place while they're not being used.It keeps the soil cool and moist, lowers the air temperature, and shields plants from intense sunlight.As the weather gets cooler and nighttime temperatures begin to drop into the 30s, be ready to cover your salad greens with Garden Fabric. .

How to Grow Lettuce

How to Grow Lettuce.Weeks to grow transplants: 3 to 5.Days to harvest: 25 (baby) to 60 (mature) from seed; 30 to 40 from transplants.Lettuce can be divided into two major categories: leaf lettuce and head lettuce.Preparation and planting.Lettuce is a cool season plant that matures quickly.Tight plant spacing will allow plants to quickly block sunlight from reaching the soil and help with weed suppression.For loose-leaf varieties, cut the outer leaves one by one when they’re large enough to use and allow the inner leaves to develop.Another method for baby lettuce is to cut all of the leaves a few inches above the soil, making sure not to cut the growing point.You can store head lettuce for up to three weeks, although butterhead lettuce only keeps for a few days. .

Growing lettuce in the summer heat

Here's how you can have your lettuce and heat it too.Lettuce prefers the cool days of spring and fall with air temperatures in the 60s .Then adjust the sun's rays by providing a shade cloth covering for the lettuce part of the bed.We explain how to build low tunnels over your raised beds Tricia plants, grows, and harvests lettuce in our latest video.Our vegetable gardens are rarely right outside the kitchen door, but you can grow containers of Leaf lettuces just steps away from your kitchen sink -- cut some leaves, rinse, spin, toss, and eat.Head lettuces like Romaine, Bibb and Crisphead need to grow about 50 days to harvest, so let them get on with it out in your vegetable bed.But the Leaf lettuces are ideal for containers -- pick the outer leaves and let the center continue to grow. .

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