Winter Growth of lettuce in 33 days

jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)December 16, 2011

I transplanted this bed of greens on November 12th. I made a short video of the transplanting.

Well fast forward 33 days and here is how things are looking. I am really impressed with the growth. This is the latest I have transplanted stuff. I am going to be direct seeding some more salad mix this week. I hope it will germinate and be ready by the end of February/March.

Winter Density

Black Seeded Simpson

Red Sails

Red Oakleaf

Green Oakleaf



Here is a link that might be useful: Transplanting Lettuce

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Hi, I am from Mi. and wondered what temp it gets at night in your hoop house in winter and what crops you can grow? Are onions possible? Do your water lines freeze? Mark

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 3:35AM
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How come you plant several seedlings in one spot? the heads will get much larger if there is only on head per spot

mark my hoop house gets well below freezing at night, watering is generally not an issue as the plants grow so much more slowly in winter without supplemental heat and light that watering is hardly ever an issue

Onions over winter quite well in a hoop house but considering they really do not need all that much protection to over winter and hoophouses are expensive it id smarter to grow fast crops like the Asian greens, lettuce, arugula, cabbage, etc.. The only alliums I use hoophouses for are leeks and that is just in winter so we can pull them as the soil usually doesn't freeze in an unheated hoophouse

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 5:20AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Temps in my hoophouses on the coldest night this year, 10.9 outside, was around 23 in my biggest house (temp not taken under the row cover). The smaller houses it was 18-20 degrees.

I drain all my hoses, but I never worry about the drip tape and header lines. It will warm up in the 60's or hotter during the day. The drip tape usually drains out.

What crops am I growing now in the high tunnels. Carrots, Leeks, Radishes, Turnips, Spinach, Napa Cabbage, Bok Choy, Tatsoi, Kale, Green onions, Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Arugula, and Tomatoes (with a little added heat up to Thanksgiving). There are many more, but this is what I currently have growing.

There are several reasons:

1)I planted the trays very quickly and just pinched a few seeds in each plug. I usually only put 2 seeds per hole. I was in a hurry.

2) Why did I plant two plugs at each dripper? Space. I had more seedlings than I had space. So, I just put them in. The will start being harvested in January.

3) I don't harvest full heads. This will go into salad mix. I break off the bigger leaves and leave the plants. I get good grow back and I can harvest for a longer period of time from the same space. I don't thickly sow salad mix and cut baby salad mix for several reason, weeds, are the main reason. Also it takes more space to do this than if I do it this way. I tested that out last year.

I grow onions in my high tunnels in the winter, but they are in pipe/gutter planters. Very simple and a good use of space. IMO.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 11:12AM
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Mark, I believe both Jay and Lucy are further south than me, and you're alot further north than me. I kept some impatiens in my hoop house without heat until we had a couple of 15 degree days outside. Now, they're history. I'll be using my hoophouse as a garage until it gets warmer. Hubby put big enough doors for the vehicle or his tractor to fit inside, in case we needed to use it as a garage.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 4:22PM
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That's some fast lettuce. I think I may not be watering mine enough or maybe it needs more feeding? The larger transplants seem to do better than the smaller transplants.

A want a hoophouse so badly. From what I've read, the wider the hoophouse the less heat it loses.

Jay, do you use fence toprail and benders from lostcreek? Is it worth it to build the 20ft wide houses instead of the 12 ft?

I guess you get enough heat during the day for those crops to grow. What is the soil temp inside those houses and what is it at the end of Winter?

I am going to build more 6-ft-wide high tunnels next month since I can't afford a regular hoophouse. The narrow high tunnels still help out a lot since they heat up so nicely during the day. My Fall tomatoes took off when I put in my first high tunnel last October.


    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 2:44PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Yes, a wider hoop house is better. The tunnel this lettuce is in is 30 by 48. I have three more tunnels that are 18.5 and two movable ones that are 16 feet wide.

I have bent my own hoops using the endwall as a jig. It works fairly well. I was considering buying the 20 foot bender from Lostcreek this winter. I am really wanting to put in some Raspberries in a high tunnel. I figure if I put up a 20 foot tunnel, that would give me plenty of room for 2 rows with some space on the outsides for some quick crops like radishes and lettuce. I don't think I could squeeze three beds in there without cursing myself later.

The heat isn't the deciding factor, it is the sun. On a sunny day in winter, it will get 75-80 degrees fairly easily.

Put up a tunnel, you won't be disappointed!


    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 7:55PM
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