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Is it too late to plant lettuce, spinach ?

Posted by gardneninggirl Zone 5 Colorado (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 24, 09 at 4:15

This will be my first try at gardening in the Denver area. Is it too late for me to plant lettuce, spinach and swiss chard here?
If not, do I sow seeds directly into the soil or start seedlings inside?

Also, I started chives inside and would like to know when I should transplant them to the outdoors.

Much Appreciation for your help!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Is it too late to plant lettuce, spinach ?

Swiss chard is a hot weather green, so no problem there. Lettuce and spinach will bolt when stressed from heat and dry soil, but if you can keep them moist, with frequent boosts of diluted N-rich fertilizer, you should some decent salads.

I'd plant them directly in the soil.

Chives can be stuck out now.

RE: Is it too late to plant lettuce, spinach ?

I planted spinach and mesclun last year around the 3rd week of May and they did fine. I say go for it.

The lettuce that I have in the garden is still very small and I am starting some more now.

RE: Is it too late to plant lettuce, spinach ?

I'm about 1100 miles to your NW, Gardneninggirl. But, I just thought I'd chime in about lettuce.

Transplanting lettuce to the garden takes some of the stress off it as seedlings - if you have good indoor growing conditions. In other words, if you start the plants indoors, even fairly late in the Spring, they should have an easier time growing to a useful size once they are in the garden.

Now, this is based on memory of earlier seasons. Nothing has emerged from our cold soil yet. And, I'm not risking any transplants out there just yet. But when they go out, the lettuce will sharing space with seed already sown in the garden. That "direct seed/transplant starts" process for lettuce will continue right up 'till Summer. Crop failure will occur with both techniques but not for awhile.

. . . my 2


RE: Is it too late to plant lettuce, spinach ?

You've probably already purchased this year's seed, but just for future reference, there are varieties of lettuce that are more heat tolerant than others.

Here are some with good heat tolerance:

New Red Fire
Sierra (also called Magenta)
Red Sails
Simpson Elite

I planted several of those last year, and they didn't bolt until mid-July, so even sowed now, there would be plenty of time for fresh salads.

All of my lettuces are sown outdoors using the wintersowing technique, which can be done in the spring as well, if the containers are not placed in full sun.


RE: Is it too late to plant lettuce, spinach ?

I put out lettuce seeds a couple weeks ago using the wintersowing method. I have lots of little sprouts in that jug now. Same with spinach, mesclun & broccoli. I tried some indoors too, but I think the jugs win this one for sure.

Of course, when you're sowing a milk jug, it's easy to put in a lot more seed than you realize. I think there are 25 seedlings in there. I have a friend starting a salad garden (her first attempt ever) so I'm going to send some with her, and some may come to the swap as well.

If only my perennials would pop up like the veggies did... (I'm getting newbie-nervous about my first time wintersowing.)

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

RE: Is it too late to plant lettuce, spinach ?

On a cold track, lettuce and cabbage family plants are the winners of the race. At 50, they will show up in less than 2 weeks.

Most ornamentals (in fact, most seeds) have a recommendation of 65 to 70+ optimum soil temperature. They show up in 2 or 3 weeks, sometimes much longer. At those warm temperatures, Louise Lettuce and Terry Turnipseed would bound out of the starting gate in 2 or 3 days!

I have my earliest sprouts outdoors right now (freezing overnight a couple times a week, still). They are from Asian mustard seeds. Unfortunately, they aren't ones I planted in the garden. The sprouts are growing at the foot of a backyard tree where I laid the seed stalks to dry last year before collecting (most of) the seed.

Oh well, more Asian mustard is now planted where they can be enjoyed by something other than my backyard laying hens.


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