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Planting Lettuce

Posted by river22 Z6 (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 16, 08 at 9:07

Is it to late to plant more lettuce? Mine is bolting from the heat and I would like to have some for my salads when the tomatoes get ripe. I would hate to wait until fall to plant more. Just wondering if I was wasting my time and water doing this now. The heat is starting to come on so I would be planting them in the shade.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Planting Lettuce

It really is too late. If you plant it now, the heat will burn it up before it can make much growth. Even the lettuce varieties that are advertised as being "heat resistant" and "able to produce a crop in spite of the summer heat" cannot even begin to handle the heat in our part of the country. Soil temperatures of 78 degrees and higher, which are soil temperatures many of us already have exceeded, cause lettuce to bolt and go to seed. Even if you could get it to grow and keep it alive, which I doubt, it would have a VERY bitter and unpleasant taste.

If you had room inside and you keep your house cooled to 80 degrees or lower, you could grow it inside under lights. If you have a basement or tornado shelter that stays pretty cool, you could grow it there under lights. Outside? No chance in the July and August heat. Sorry--I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I know you'd rather hear the truth.

It is a great cool-season crop for fall, winter and spring, and you can grow it in a cold frame or under a plastic tunnel virtually all winter, though. In the summer? There's just no way.

Dawn


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RE: Planting Lettuce

I agree with Dawn about planting lettuce now. Try exploring some alternatives and consider salad that is tomato-based instead of lettuce-based. I like tomato, cucumber and onion with just a little vinegar and oil and basil. Black beans, corn avocado and tomato also make a really good (and hearty) salad with a little garlic, lime juice, cilantro and olive oil. Last year Barbara Brown did a bread salad on Oklahoma Gardening that was crusty bread with lots of tomatoes and some other stuff - garlic, onion, basil, etc. I'm sure Dawn and others have lots of other ideas.


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RE: Planting Lettuce

So what month will we be able to successfully plant lettuce again, September? I've never had homegrown lettuce, is it far better than store bought lettuce? What about homegrown green beans? Mine are getting beat up by spider mites right now. Sheri


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RE: Planting Lettuce

Sheri,

For your zone, the OSU recommendations of Aug. 1st-15th for planting fall lettuce ought to work out just fine. For bush beans, I think I'd plant about the same time, or maybe a week or two earlier.

Here's the OSU planting dates:

JULY 15-AUG 15:

Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Carrots
Parsnips

AUG 1 - AUG 15:

Beets
Irish Potato
Leaf Lettuce (This is the date recommmended by OSU, but I think it is too hot in southern OK in August, so I wait at least until Sept. 1)

AUG 1 - AUG 25:
Cabbage
Chinese Cabbage
Cauliflower

AUG 1 - SEPT 1:
Collards

AUG 1 - SEPT 15:
Swiss Chard
Turnip

AUG 15 - SEPT 1:
Peas (green, not southern)

AUG 15 - SEPT 15:
Rutabaga

AUG 15 - OCT 10:
Radish

SEPT 1:
Kale Kohlrabi
Leek
Onions

SEPT 1 - OCT 15:
Garlic

SEPT 5 - SEPT 25:
Spinach

SEPT 10 - OCT 10:
Mustard

Because I lived in Texas forever, I still use my fall gardening dates from Texas to help me figure out what to plant when. Here's their planting dates for the part of North Texas that is just across the Red River from me. If you are in central or northern Oklahoma, you might want to plant a week or two earlier than the TAMU dates given below.

These dates are for SEED sown directly into the garden.

JUNE 15:
Eggplant
Pepper
Tomato

JULY 1:
Southern Peas (Black-eyes, cream, crowder, etc.)
Pumpkin
Winter Squash

JULY 25:
Bush Lima Beans

AUGUST 1:
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Cucumber
Garlic (from cloves, not seed)
Irish Potato

AUG 10:
Sweet Corn

AUG 15:
Bush beans (green, purple, yellow or bicolor)
Carrots
Swiss Chard
Summer Squash

SEPT 1:
Beets
Kohlrabi
Leaf Lettuce
Mustard
Spinach

OCT 1:
Parsley (overwinters)
Radish

OCT 15:
Turnip

If Planting From TRANSPLANTS:

JUL 10:
Eggplant
Pepper
Tomato

AUG 20:
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower

Isn't it hard to believe it is already time to start planning the fall garden? Seems like spring just began, but here it is...almost officially summer.

Dawn


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RE: Planting Lettuce

Oh, fresh lettuce is SOOO much better than store bought! But you might research what kind before you plant as you will like some kinds better than others. After all, if you're going to go to the trouble of growing it, you might as well grow something that costs more in the stores than just your standard lettuce, eh?

I found that the leaf lettuce that's kind of standard around here for planting in the spring does not go over very well in my household. DH grew up a sharecropper's son, but you couldn't tell it by his eating habits. He prefers "store bought", does not appreciate the difference between a store tomato and a home grown one, and in fact does not appreciate the goodness of home made items without all the colors and additives. He is not fun to cook for and I have long since given up trying to "clone" his favorite store products, because he never likes them as well. Sometimes I think if I poured his favorite Thousand Island in a pint jar and told him it was home-made, he wouldn't like that, either. So I make what I like and if he wants some of it he is welcome to it, but I don't try to push it on him -- like that would work, anyway.

But back on topic, I did romaine (cos) and buttercrunch lettuce this year and they have been wonderful! They are quite substantial and hold up to ranch and thousand island dressing better than does standard leaf lettuce. And it is lasting later in the year than the leaf lettuce I had last year, but that might be because our weather has been strange. If it holds out a LITTLE bit longer, I might actually be able to pair it with some home-grown tomatoes!

I tried the mesclun mix and I didn't like it. The varieties were pretty, but some of them were quite spicy and tasted like horseradish.

You do have to clean the lettuce well to remove the garden soil that splashes up during rain and watering. I usually put my fresh-picked lettuce in one side of the sink and add enough water so that, when you push the lettuce all the way to the bottom, there is enough water to cover. A nice bath in this and then give it enough time for the dirt to settle to the bottom, then I use my salad spinner to spin out the excess water and pack it in a plastic bowl with a tight-fitting lid and keep it in the refrigerator. Fresh-picked lettuce will crisp up and stay fresh this way for two or three days. I'm told some people spritz their lettuce with straight vinegar to "sanitize" it, but I have never done that. If you eat quite a bit of lettuce and you are not used to it, your body may react by cleaning itself out, if you know what I mean, but most people adjust pretty quickly to having lots of roughage. ;)


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RE: Planting Lettuce

Ilene,
Have you ever used the spinner cycle on the washer to spin your salad? I read about it and since I make a few gallons of salad at one time a smaller spinner would take a lot of time. Just slip your greens in a pillow case, put them in the washer and let it spin about 15 seconds. Works wonders.


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RE: Planting Lettuce

No, I had never heard of that! I would think the action of a washing machine spin would be too rough for lettuce, but maybe the 15 second thing is the key. I do have to put several batches in my spinner, but I only keep about a gallon or two of greens in my refrigerator at a time because, in the absence of tomatoes, I'm the only one that eats it.

Since the use of the spinner is to get the extra water and any remaining soil off the leaves, how does that work in a pillow case? Does whatever soil remaining in the water on the leaves then cling to the inside of the pillowcase?


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RE: Planting Lettuce

Ilene,
I wash mine several times and get them clean, then just put in the washer on spin cycle. When I first put it all in there it has water dripping everywhere, but after a few seconds on spin it is just damp. If you leave it in too long the lettuce gets bruised up and looks like its been thru the wringer. LOL. Just a few seconds, you mite have to experiment a time or two. Better to bring it out a little to wet than over do it.


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