Lettuce Seed

It’s that time of summer where we’re suddenly out of lettuce.  Every plant that we’ve been harvesting off of has decided to flower and turn the leaves bitter.  The newer plantings of lettuce are not ready for eating yet.

I actually had to buy a small head of romaine today to make tacos.  Nuts.

Anyway, I’d been going back and forth on letting the lettuce go to seed or pulling it out and planting something else.  Well, it’s so blasted hot out that absolutely nothing is going to be sprouting and growing anyway, so for now, the lettuces are going to flower.

I was curious about the seeding process, and wondering what I was watching for. A quick Google search turned up a Youtube video that I thought I’d share here.

I’m rather excited about this.  Granted, lettuce seed is probably one of the ones I have an over-abundance of, but the variety I am growing right now is the perfect variety for us.  I’m hopeful the heat will make this a quick process and then I can get something else in the ground when it cools off a touch.  I want some more lettuce for fall, but I’m also thinking that I want to plant some turnips too.  We’ll see…

Quick Note About Growing Under Light


That little seed tray needs frequent watering.  I’ve been watering my lettuce patch, but sparingly.  Yesterday when I went to check on my seedlings, they looked terrible.  Like, I thought I was going to have to start over terrible.  I decided to give them a good soaking- and it was definitely a good soaking, I probably poured a full gallon of water in this little flat.  But look what I have today:

They’re thriving.   Now if we can only get past this sub-zero frigid temperatures outside, I can start to think about setting the lettuce outside in the screen porch.  My plan is to put them in my greenhouse rack with the plastic cover on, in the plastic covered screen porch.  That should put them at around a zone 7, and I expect the lettuces will grow wonderfully, and in no time we’ll be eating salad.

I need more lights too.  Because I want to start another flat of lettuces, only I need my trays and lights to start actual seeds.

Here’s a quick pic of my onion flat.

You can see the alliums all came up nicely- including the 50% germination Tadorna Leek.  They came up with better than 50% germ, so I guess you never know.  Far to the right you can see the parsley seedlings.  Still no artichokes.   If they don’t come up in the next week here, I’m going to dig them up and see if the seeds are doing anything.  Maybe they need to be scarified? The parsley I’m going to have to pull out soon and plant in bigger spaces.  The onions should be doing just fine here for a while, as long as I give them a haircut from time to time.   If I end up pulling the ‘chokes, when I pot up the parsley, that square of starter tray will be filled with thyme, marjoram and lovage.

The Lettuce Patch

During this last weekend, we had some good friends of ours over for dinner.  We had a wonderful time visiting, and I loved all the wonderful gardening advice I got as well.  One of those bits of advice was to take this small strip of dirt along our screen porch, and turn it into a lettuce patch.  The strip gets very little sun- but it does get some, which is enough to grow lettuce.  My friend suggested that by using that piece of dirt, I could potentially have lettuce all summer long- without the hours and hours of direct sun, my lettuce wouldn’t decide to bolt and go to seed so quickly.

You don’t say?

I couldn’t stop thinking of this, so yesterday I took a pitchfork to the dirt to see what was there- and what do you know, there was nothing there.  I was too tired to do much else, but today I managed to find a bit of energy.  I robbed the main garden space of some newly acquired compost, worked it in, and wasted no time in scattering some lettuce seeds.

I planted some lettuce out a few weeks ago, but with the cool temps, I’ve had nothing come up yet.  Much of the seed is older, so I was wondering about viability… I decided to not plant lettuce in the SFG way, and instead, just sprinkled a whole lot of seeds in the ground.  I will thin if needed, but I figure this way I can at least ensure some measure of success with the lettuce.

I planted several varieties here- all different types of romaine, which is my absolute favorite.  I planted some Vivian which was an old packet from Burpee- don’t know how successful that will be.  I also planted Little Gem, a small variety, Verte Mar from Seeds of Change, as well as Jericho- my favorite romaine, and then last but not least, some Cimarron- a red romaine.  I tossed the Jericho and the Cimarron together in the dirt closest to the front of the house- I have visions of this beautiful patch of red and green tantalizing from the sidewalk.

I had planned on sowing some spring mix, but lo and behold, I couldn’t find the seed packet.  I was puzzling over this when I remembered that last year I’d given an ample supply of my seeds to someone who was growing a garden to donate to food pantries and whatnot.  Mental note: When donating seed, remember that, so you don’t count on having it on hand when you go to plant.

Time will tell if this is successful.  I swear I can taste the lettuce already.  I’m looking forward to updating with success!