Lettuce - Plant Now?

westy1941(Boulder County, CO)July 17, 2013

I was told today by a rental plot-mate who came to look at my garden that I could plant some types of loose leaf lettuce. I was complaining about the heat and the fact that I now have to wait until Fall to again sow more greens. The spinach and lettuce that's left has bolted already. She said she has planted lettuce in mid-July with success but I've heard from others it's too hot here at this time - this is my first year gardening in Colorado. Anyone know of a heat-tolerant lettuce variety? And where would they be for sale? Love the reds. Also what about collard greens?


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Westy, I do not garden in Colorado so you will need someone there to give you scheduling information. Also, collards hasn't grown well for me. It is Brassica oleracea and those "cabbages" do not grow well as seedlings during the heat of summer. You may be able to find started kale plants and try those. Scotch kale is also Brassica oleracea.

I just set out some lettuce starts yesterday. High temperatures for the foreseeable future will be in the 90's. This has worked for me before. In fact, I only sow lettuce seed in the garden during the very earliest weeks of the growing season. After that, it is transplants.

The cut & come again technique has pretty much been discontinued. The transplants go out as little "bunches" of about 3 to 5 plants. They may be harvested 1 at a time but the idea is to remove all the plants in that group within a short time. More transplants are beginning in a good location in my backyard. Early on, that is my greenhouse. Later, it may just be near the backsteps, in the shade of a tree. They come out of their containers and go out into the open garden when only a few weeks old. Afternoon shade is their friend in both locations.

edit: Nevada, a Summer Crisp, and the romaines have grown well for me during the summer.

This post was edited by digit on Wed, Jul 17, 13 at 6:50

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 6:48AM
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gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)

I just planted lettuce seed a few days ago. At this time of year I look for an area that will be shaded quite a bit either by trees, fences or taller plants.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 9:39AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Several years ago a neighbor brought me a big handful of lettuce sometime around the end of July. I almost fell over! I asked if it was from their garden--which I already knew it was, and then I asked what kind it was. They're not gardeners so she went in and got the package and it was a romaine, as Digit mentioned above. I still haven't been able to grow anything to brag about, a combination of getting it in too late, leaf miners and earwigs, and really heavy clay--they struggle and bolt VERY easily (neighbors have store bought soil), but so far the best I've gotten has been the cos/romaine lettuces.

I haven't been able to plant a fall crop yet since I go on vacation and there's nobody to "successfully" take care of it, but I agree with GJ, if you do it now some shade would probably help--but at a community plot you probably don't have that! In full sun I think I'd wait a couple weeks yet to give it a try, and I definitely recommend trying a cos whenever you plant, now or in spring. (I haven't had any luck at all with the looseleaf types--or spinach, she said with a tear in her eye!)


    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 11:09AM
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westy1941(Boulder County, CO)

Well I took a chance and planted seeds as well as starts from a nursery and both are doing fine - using thin white row cloth for total shade (which, in this case of thin row cloth is really 'light' shade). My fave is 'corn salad' lettuce or 'mache' (French word for it) - but it has to be sown straight into the ground and not in cells or pots for some crazy reason - but it's the absolute best.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 11:33PM
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Now just a cotton picking minute! That isn't lettuce, Westy!

Mache is Valerianella locusta. Lettuce is Lactuca sativa!

Besides that, Mache is really tough for me to find the right "window" to grow it in the spring. This ain't no fair!


    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 11:41PM
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westy1941(Boulder County, CO)

Ha that's funny - I'm sorry - I know it's not REALLY lettuce but that's how I use it and have always thought of it. I've seen it growing wild in cornfields (I guess that's where the name 'Corn Salad' came from?) I first encountered it in Italy on a trip a few years ago and then went crazy trying to find it at the grocers. Finally found it at Whole Foods and also Fresh Market - in Illinois and North Carolina - but it's very rare to find it at all - anywhere. When I saw the seed packet I nearly fainted - and the instructions say 'not recommended' to start in a cell pack inside! Just sow directly in the ground. So this is going to be a first for me. I wish I could send you some when (and if) it is a success!


    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 1:42AM
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