Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fresh Lettuce Season Is Over

November 4th found me weeding the last outdoor planting of lettuce for this year.  We have found planting lettuce seeds in plastic pots to be the most effective method for us.  High soil temperatures inhibit seed germination during the summer.  An early start is possible when the soil remains cold in the spring.  It is also much easier for our creaky bodies to thin the lettuce seedlings on the planting bench.  No bending over and the ability to see what needs to be removed are big pluses for us.  This planting was properly weeded and Becky clear cut it before the monster storm froze everything solid.  We ate the last of this lettuce yesterday.  It was wonderful.

There are always more plants than can be planted out since lettuce must go under a wire cage.  The plan was to move these plants into the basement on cold nights and set them out on the wall on warm sunny days.  There have been no warm sunny days recently and these plants now languish on a basement windowsill.  With December days close at hand, these plants are facing the end of their season.

Johnny's Select Seeds was our source for Flashy Trout Back lettuce.  Its color is bright and cheerful and the tasty is incredible.  Johnny recently retired selling the business to the employees.  It may be that the transfer of funds will be completed by an increase on each seed pack.  That is an admirable and responsible plan to transfer ownership but I found the new cost of a pack of lettuce seeds to be more than I was willing to pay.  The last of my stock of Flashy Trout Back seeds were planted.  The plants were left to go to seed but I never got around to collecting any.  Some self planted seed grew of its own accord but they are simply too late. I have to wonder if we can keep these little lettuce plants alive until spring but the odds are if I am to continue eating this variety of lettuce, the high price of seed will have to be paid.

Our fresh from the garden lettuce season started early and is ending quite late.  Repeated plantings kept the supply continuous.  Several years ago in a much smaller garden, we did enjoy fresh from the garden lettuce with Christmas dinner.  A small cold frame and a much later arrival of winter made that possible.  Perhaps we should look into a new cold frame for next year.


Beth at PlantPostings said...

We used plastic window box liners for lettuce this year. That way, the trays were very portable and fit in small places in the garden. They were quite productive! The peak was in May and June, but then we had a little flush again in the autumn. Now we moved them to a greenhouse-type arrangement above our small above-ground pond--which stays above freezing, thanks to a heater. So far, the lettuce plants haven't died, but they're not growing much either. We've had such bitter cold lately, though, so I'm surprised they're even alive! Fresh lettuce is the best!

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

I have never quite mastered continous sowing of lettuce...spring into mid summer is very productive and if sown in more shade I continue to get lettuce but perhaps a different container system for the fall planted lettuce. Lots of "food" for thought Becky.