let us lettuce

jclepine(8b)May 14, 2009

Surprise, surprise! I have some questions.

If I want to start some lettuce seeds, is it too late? And, should I start them inside or outside?

I wasn't brave enough to try seed again this winter based on all my failed attempts (except for the chives!), but now I really want to try it.

I have a small enamel covered tub (like a baby's victorian claw foot, without the claws) with a drain spout. I'd like to use this to house my lettuce so they are not in the ground. I can keep the tub inside in a VERY well lighted space (front of house is all window) or I can keep it outside in the sun or shade or where ever these green things belong.

The last frost date is supposed to be June 15. Wherever I start them, I could easily bring them inside or outside depending on the weather. And by "me", I mean Darren!!!

Just not sure what is the best choice...help :)

Thanks a bunch!




Black Seeded Simpson, full to partial sun, 7-14 days to sprout

Prizehead, same as above

Red Sails, sunny, 7-14 days...


Here is a link that might be useful: this is the tub

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Your not too late Jennifer. Will you have your lettuce in containers which will sit inside the tub, or will you be putting soil in the tub itself?

You can plant outdoors now and for some time to come. You might want to plant small amounts of lettuce seed every week to ten days, so you have nice plants coming along all the time. Lettuce will want to bolt (flower and then go to seed) as the days get long in the heat of the summer, but if you can give your summer lettuce a little shade you might be able to extend your harvest. You can sow lettuce seed in a cold frame in August for late season harvests too. Good growing.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 12:22AM
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You can still start lettuce.

I started some Black Seeded Simpson in a milk jug (wintersown style - but I put it out this spring) and I had good success. If you do start it in a jug, I recommend spacing the seeds (try a moist toothpick to pick them up) rather than scattering them. I just put the rest of mine in the garden this week. They were about an inch or so tall and would have been easier to get out if I had spaced them better.

I also started some inside under lights but I won't next year. The jug was lots easier.

My mom grows her lettuce in a big container (but she's not in CO).

I have some pics in my camera. I'll try to post them when I've got them downloaded.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 12:24AM
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J, I'll say that it is a real good time for you to plant lettuce, inside or out.

Lettuce doesn't have special requirements other than plenty of nutrients and plenty of water. Okay, it has requirements.

One thing for sure, it will pop up quickly given some moisture and just the minimum of warmth. Once up, partial shade or full sun should both be okay. Maybe afternoon shade works bestest.

I've never "containerized" lettuce thru its entire growth, that I can remember. It should do okay that way, tho' - see above on water needs.

Have fun with your salads!


    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 12:42AM
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I can do it either way, with them IN the tub or with them in long planters (I can fit two planters in the tub) that are set inside the tub.

I had zero success with the milk jugs so I'm not sure I want to try them again. Although, Skybird recommended trying a planting mix without vermiculite, so maybe I'll try that.

How big do the sprouts have to be before being re-planted?


    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 12:46AM
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First set of true leaves, anyway . . .


    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 12:50AM
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Lettuce is somewhat frost hardy, so don't worry too much about planting them outside at this time of year.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 5:34PM
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Dan Staley

Yes, it is better to push the frost than the heat. Mine are up and running well and I'm prepping to put up a shade cloth for our expected mid-80s here in a couple days. But by all means get them in the ground. My lettuce from seed under lights inside is never as good as direct-sown.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 7:33PM
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laura_42(4b-5a Colorado)

Hi Jennifer --

"Red Sails" didn't take the heat well when I directly sowed them into a raised bed the first week of June, but "Paris Island Cos" (a romaine-type) was a champion and didn't bolt until late August. Tasty, too.

Also, ditto on using a shade cloth.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 9:02PM
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