Friday, March 11, 2016

Let Us Plant Lettuce

Although spring is still a week away, we are having some nice warm days and everyone is itching to get out there and start planting seeds.  However, here in Oklahoma where we live, the average last frost date is April 15, so it is a little risky to put out tender plants until the danger of frost is past.

That being said, lettuce is one of those hardy plants that will withstand frost and live to tell about it.  In fact, we have been growing lettuce in our hoophouse all winter.   Click this link to see it:   Hoophouse

In order to get the nice individual heads that we sell at the farmers' market, we start lettuce seed in cell packs and put them in our small greenhouse.  Here's some that was started a couple of weeks ago.

Once it gets to be about this size, we plant the individual little plants.

We grow several varieties of lettuce.  Every year, we drool over the seed catalogs and have a difficult time deciding what kinds to order.  There are several "tried and true" varieties that we grow every year.  But, we like to try a couple of new ones every year.

Here are a few of the different kinds we've grown this winter.

As the spring warms up, we mix several varieties together and sow them outside in rows like this.

This is easily harvested by grabbing a handful and cutting it off about an inch above the ground.  Then, in a few days new leaves will begin to grow from the stub that is left.  This is called the "cut and come again" method and you can get about 3 cuttings off the same patch of lettuce.

Lettuce is easy to grow and I encourage you to try it.  You can stash it between flowers in your flower beds or even grow it in pots on your patio.  A word of caution, though.  It does not like hot weather and will bolt and turn bitter when hot weather arrives.  So, now is the time to start planting it.  If you sow a few seeds every couple of weeks during the spring, you will be able to enjoy fresh greens for several months.  

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