Intro and questions about lettuce and corn

adoptioncountsApril 22, 2010

Hello, I'm new here and though I've attempted gardening before and my whole family are crop farmers, I can't say I've ever been very successful. Needless to say, I was excited when I discovered SFG although I have limited knowledge.

I built four 4x4 boxes and one 2x8 box. They are almost 18 inches deep with a fabric weed barrier underneath the soil. (I hope that's okay..) The soil itself is about 15 inches deep. (Is this deep enough?)

So, about lettuce. I got plants from Lowes whose leaves were already quite large (4-6 inches) and when I planted them I went ahead and harvested those leaves about an inch above the soil. Now I'm wondering if I should have done that. How big does leaf lettuce get before you harvest some? How long does it keep coming back? It is buttercrisp I believe but now it's dark and I don't want to go out to look.

Secondly, how much sweet corn could I plant in the 2x8 box? Would it be worth the trouble? I was thinking you only get one ear per stalk per year but I can't remember and I'm too embarrassed to ask a family member. (Insert sheepish grin.)

I have never done a garden that actually worked and though I've been reading more general gardening books all winter, all the knowledge is now a blur in my head. This seems much easier to deal with than a typical garden though so I'm hopeful. Thanks in advance for the advice!

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The 15" depth is good.

I've never grown buttercrisp but if it's a leaf letuce, I harvest when I need a salad and it looks big enough to eat (smaller is usually better) if you're harvesting cut-and-come-again. Some types will also grow into a loose head (like green or red leaf lettuce from the store) and you can wait until it looks ready and cut the plant. With lettuce, if it gets too big or when the weather gets too warm and it bolts, it can get bitter. Sometimes you can soak the bitter out in cold water but not always. Just a heads-up :-)

If you have access to good sweet corn and limited garden space, I wouldn't plant corn. Some varieties give one ear/stalk/season and some give two. The two foot bed width could limit corn success as it's generally advised to plant at least 4 deep for good pollination. Corn is wind-pollinated and if pollination is poor, your ears will be missing kernels. Sometimes missing more than they have.

Lettuce can also be direct sown or if you prefer to transplant starts, it does well for me started on my covered front porch in a milk jug (wintersowing-style, even in spring or summer).

If you like peas and/or beans, they tend do do pretty well without much trouble. Squash, cukes & zucchini may be a good place to start too though it depends how bad the bugs are where you live.

Don't stress yourself out, gardening is sort of a learn-as-you-grow activity :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Tales of a Transplanted Gardener

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 1:20AM
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Thank you, that is very helpful information. I think I'll wait until next year on the corn then, when I can create a larger bed for it. I'm happy to have found a place with so much good information!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 8:35AM
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