Summer Crisp Lettuce

jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)June 18, 2013

We have been growing Summer crisp lettuce and have been succession planting it. The first two plantings were in the high tunnels, the next 4 plantings are outside.

It has been hot, as of late, but I have added some spinner sprinklers to keep it cool and it is working.

We have been growing 9 varieties. I can't say one has been selling better than another. I have planted more green ones and they have been selling better.

Cherokee

Tiede

Concept

Clairmont Romaine

Breen Romaine

Jericho Romaine

Magenta

I should have started to harvesting on Saturday, but I had to finish harvesting the 2nd planting.

We will start harvesting this week.

Jay

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gama_garden_tx(9)

Oh how I would love to have lettuce in the summer!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 6:52AM
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Rio_Grande

Jay after the daily messing with the shade cloth this variety is very appealing. KS wether is similar to ours. I gotta look this up!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 7:35PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)


I didn't end up planting more than one bed yet. I have 4 more trays to plant and the seedlings are not growing. Anyway I have things suddenly bolting so I put a shade hat on the lettuce today.
These are the varieties I am trialing,
lettuce, Bughatti
lettuce, bronze mignonette
lettuce, Green Star
lettuce, greens
lettuce, Jericho
lettuce, Lollo di Vino
lettuce, mix
lettuce, Pablo
lettuce, radichetta
lettuce, reds
lettuce, Rouge d'hiver
lettuce, Sierra
lettuce, summer mix
lettuce, Winter Density
lettuce, winter mix
lettuce, Strela Green
I had some Simpson left too. That was first to bolt. None of the others I have planted now are bolting. Some of these are for fall. The seeded baby lettuce is doing great.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 11:29PM
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Rio_Grande

Never planted any lettuce this late/early depending on the outlook. Are there any issues getting good germination?

Minnie your crop looks good too.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 1:06AM
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randy41_1

great looking lettuce jay. you must have a very busy market with not much competition to sell that much lettuce.
to get lettuce to germinate i start it in soil blocks (plugs would work just fine) and put the tray on my deck in the shade until it sprouts. then i move it to a sunny area. it then gets transplanted into a bed that gets shade starting in the late afternoon.
this time of year there are enough greens at our market for 2 or 3 times the number of customers that show up.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 6:50AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Randy,

Hmm, well I hope we do! I have been slowly upping the numbers we take to sell each market. I started out around 20 heads, I have over 50 heads for the market today. I have been planting about 200-210 plugs every three weeks. The problem was when I changed from inside planting to outside plants. I had to delay. Thus the 3rd and 4th plantings went out at the same time. 5th planting was timed right and 6th planting will hopefully go out today! I forgot to start the next planting, so I will be doing that today too.

Jay

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 8:47AM
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myfamilysfarm

For germination of lettuce during the warmer months, I've heard that you need to refrigerate the seeds for a couple of weeks before planting. Never have tried it.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 3:55PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I start mine inside and then put in shade until ready to harden off. I sprinkled and irrigated my greens today at the same time. This is the first year I am really intent on extending lettuce. Spinach, bok choy and Napa are bolting terribly. Stupid things. I plan to make my shade tunnels I spent so much money on on Friday.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 9:58PM
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Rio_Grande

What kind of shade tunnel did you invest in? I built mine from PVC tube and floating row cover. It is kinda a pain to deal with. I am wishing I would have built a lean to out of it instead.

We are loosing our battle with the cole crops although the broccoli is doing good under the shade.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 11:43PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

We keep all our lettuce seed in a tupperware container in the freezer. We pull it out, plant it and put it back in there. We have close to 100% germination every time we plant. All the lettuce I have pictured is from 1 to 2 year old seed. I bought too big of packets then and it is still good now!

We also start all our lettuce in 72's in the house. We get it up for a week to 10 days and then move it out to the high tunnels to harden off and grow. Then plant it out after 3 to 4 weeks.

Sales today were off a little, sold about half of what I took. I kept most of it in the cooler, so it still looks wonderful and I will sell it all on Saturday.

Jay

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 12:18AM
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2ajsmama

Jay -where did you get the seed for Summer Crisp?

Never knew to freeze seed - I kept mine in basement all year, direct-seeded and then we did have some 90-degree days and of course all the rain. The arugula in the mix is getting a few inches tall, the red Salad Bowl is maybe an inch high, the rest (Salad Bowl, BS Simpson, beets and mustard greens) don't seem to be doing anything (or maybe I pulled them thinking they were weeds?). But my chard and beets don't seem to be doing much either.

I'm going to have to use transplants rather than direct-seeding. Probably too late now - though last night was below 50 it's supposed to be around 80 for the next week.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 8:31AM
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myfamilysfarm

I've heard about freezing the seeds. I found that lettuce seed will only stay viable for 2-3 years.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 8:55AM
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2ajsmama

Mine was only a year old. I have some I bought end of last year, guess I should throw that in the freezer now, even if I use it this fall?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 9:18AM
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kelise_m

I start my lettuce into 128's under fluorescent lights. I have almost 100% germination and I've found there's a huge window of time to get them transplanted. I'm trying a Summer Crisp called Nevada right now. How are you guys feeling about the Salanova by now? Is it living up to the hype?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 9:24AM
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Rio_Grande

Is there any reason a fella couldn't get some of this started now then out under shade when big enough? Successfully of course. We are well into 80 deg days here.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 12:19PM
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myfamilysfarm

I purchased some Salanova mixed heads and here's what I've found out from the customer/seller point of view. Taste great. Head looses some outside leaves, which makes good samples. Only bad thing for sellers, but great for customer; it lasts 2-3 times as long as the average fresh heads that we've had in the past, with just regular refrigeration.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 1:14PM
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JLN123(6 KS)

Jay
I have grown the Jericho Romaine for the last 2 years. It is a wonderful lettuce but it is a hard sell in our area. I also like it for it's continual picking.Thanks for reminding me that I need to get more seed.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 5:27PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

JLN123: Where at in Kansas? It usually flies off the table. Several years ago it was the only head lettuce I grew and I ran out and left people wanting more!

Ajsmama: I got my seed from Johnny's. If you transplant it and start it inside, a pack of 500 seeds can go a long way!

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to Summer Crisp Seed

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 11:26PM
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JLN123(6 KS)

Jay
I am South of you, about 40 miles West of Wichita KS.
I pick just the leaves of the Jericho and have been able to keep plants producing for 90 days.
J.L.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 8:09AM
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2ajsmama

Thanks Jay. Never heard of it (though I've heard of Jericho), didn't know if it was proprietary (Johnny's sells some "exclusive" seed).

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 8:26AM
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teauteau(KC5/6)

J.L.
I am in Kansas City. Do you pick Jericho all summer long?

thx,
Teauteau

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 4:00PM
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JLN123(6 KS)

Teauteau
I usually get about 90 days out of the Jericho. It takes heat great and is a sweet and crisp lettuce. Terrific for lettuce wraps.
J.L.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 6:19PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Is it the one that looks real long and thin? I haven't found all my tags. I thought that one was Strela but not sure. It is holding up well except the outside leaves get brown edges all the way around and it isn't one the customers want. Last year I grew a variety that was very bolt resistant but was an iceberg and I couldn't sell it.

So Thursday I waited to see if we were going to get storms before I picked veggies for market. Then at noon I picked Napa and lettuce heads. I chose to leave most of the root on and wash them well and then market in shallow tub with cold water. However the whole process of washing was a mess and the lettuces are so tender right now that even looking at them tears leaves. So please help me figure out how better to get them to market! For the CSAs today I cut off the head and left the root in the garden, swished in water, spun and bagged. But at market I prefer them not bagged. The other thing besides the easy tearing is that the head lettuce looks so huge in the garden but after pulling or cutting and washing it is much smaller than you thought. So help please.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 8:56PM
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kelise_m

little_minnie, Lettuce is probably my least favorite thing to take to market. It's such a pain to keep nice and people don't want to pay more than $2 for the biggest, nicest heads. At my market they'll fight over the snap peas at $2 for a HALF pint, but I have to cajole people into buying lettuce! I think people don't know how to wash and keep lettuce anymore because of the bagged lettuce at the grocery store (even though it doesn't even taste like it's from the same planet)

Anyway, for what it's worth, here's what I do: I don't wash my head lettuce. I cut it in the morning, market day, after I finish loading the truck (at least this time of year when it is light enough). I take a big bucket tote lined with a clear food safe "garbage bag" and cut and put the heads in there, filling as many bags as I think will sell that week. After I get set up at market, I'll start bagging them, pulling off the bad lower leaves at that time. If I don't bag them they wilt too fast on the table and look bad, especially with even the smallest breeze. I leave the top of the bags open so they can see how great they look. I put a sign out that says "picked this morning at 5am" which impresses some of them.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 4:18PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

If you can refrigerate lettuce overnight it holds excellent on the market table.
My fridge space is limited so I pick the morning of, submerge completely in cold water and pack in rubbermaid totes. At market I put out no more than 8 at a time and can sell 50 heads in the heat of the summer with little loss.
Customers at our markets don't want to see a table full of bagged produce so I can't pre bag anything except cut greens.
-Mark

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 11:32PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Yes and my market is 3:30-7, not morning. They are just so tender that I lose so much. I like the idea of not fussing with them until market take some outer leaves off. I tried bindering them the way I do Napa but they wanted to break up.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 11:38PM
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teauteau(KC5/6)

Great information! Thanx!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 10:26AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

We pick ours in the morning, rinse it and dunk it in cold water. Then we shake out a creepy crawlies that crawled in there, dunk rinse and shake dry. Then we bring in the house and sit upside down or lay down and go back out and pick more. When we bring in the second load, we bag the first, put them in the fridge and then lay out the second load. A load is 12 to 15 heads.

Sometimes you get some moisture/water in the bag and we just dump it out or snip the corner off the bag and let it drain out. I will take pics tomorrow when we pick. I usually pick it the day before our market. That way we can get it cooled down.

Jay

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 11:36AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I was wishing the other day that I still had those triangular flower bouquet bags with the hole on the bottom. They sucked for flowers because I didn't want a hole on the bottom. If you got smaller ones or cut them to half as long you could place the lettuce in and still have it in the water/tray at the bottom for freshness but it would be kept together yet still visible for customers.

Here is a link that might be useful: flower sleeves

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 8:44PM
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randy41_1

salanova is the only lettuce we have now. i'm liking it a lot. i spent 3 1/2 hours this morning harvesting and processing it into some head lettuce bags and mostly lettuce mix bags. in all it was about 10 lbs of lettuce. so now all we need is for it to sell.....

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 4:24PM
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Rio_Grande

I have some of this on the counter trying to get it to germinate for a hydroponic experiment. So far nothing. I am going to toss the seed in the freezer and this weekend I am starting a tray full for under the shade cloth.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 6:55PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

This is how I prepped the lettuce for market this week. Worked better than without a bag but not great! I used a produce bag, large rubber band and cut the bottom out of the bag then put in cold water in a cooler. The sun and heat took a toll on the top pieces in the cooler. It was ok but I am really bummed that I thought lettuce through summer would be so great and it isn't that popular. Plus it is a PITA!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 7:07PM
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Rio_Grande

Did your seedlings come up looking like this for the summer crisp?
I was starting these for a hydroponic experiment and they turned out all leggy?
The ones we planted in dirt are not up yet.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 6:16PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I brought almost the last of my lettuce to market tonight, bagged leaves, some still in the summer crisp head shape, displayed in an open cooler, and all sold! Of course they did because I kind of needed some for Friday CSAs. Actually I just think it was all booth placement. I had them way up front and previously had done further back. Well you can't put everything up front!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 10:01PM
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Rio_Grande

That's awesome. We ran out this week,but the summer crisp we planted is coming up great!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 10:20PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I found some labels today in the lettuce bed. Sierra is the summer crisp that did best. Jericho second best for heat. Lollo di Vino was ok but those red lettuces turn bitter with a vengeance when they get bitter. The bed is going to be reused now so as I clean it out I should find more labels. I have another bed with them but they are struggling and it isn't a place with a lot of water.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 10:41PM
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Rio_Grande

Summer crisp hydroponic experiment. If my plans are right I can produce 300 plants in a 10x8 area.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 7:59PM
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