End of Season Review - Lettuce
Note To Self - Next year make sure to check that all the alarm clocks are turned off!
Presents are opened, coffee is brewed and a leisurely festive breakfast follows. The rest of the day is spent relaxing and eating leftovers from the day before. As both of my kids said - "This was the BEST Christmas EVER!" Don't you just love hearing that?
|It's been almost a month & my poinsettia is still alive.|
I'm such a brown thumb with houseplants that it's indeed a miracle!
I still have several end of year reviews to complete, so I figured I had better get a move on. Before you know it, it will be seed ordering time - which for me is around mid-January.
I grew 6 different varieties of lettuce this year – Rougette de Montpellier, Simpson Elite, Ruby Red, Royal Red, Pinares & Sierra MI.
|Royal Red (Loose Leaf)|
|Sierra MI (Batavian)|
Of all the varieties I grew, the hands down favourite was the Sierra MI. It was a heavy producer, the slowest variety to bolt, and it had an amazing, slightly sweetish taste & crunchy, almost juicy texture. Once picked, it also stored the longest in the fridge – what’s not to love? Second on the list was
Pinares - it had a great crunchy texture & mild flavour.
I was quite surprised that the Royal Red produced the greatest harvest per square foot overall. Had I not recorded the harvests, I would have sworn that Sierra MI produced a much larger harvest than any of the leaf lettuces.
In the spring & summer, I used diatomaceous earth to control the slugs & it worked very well. But by the end of August, we were seeing rain practically every day (or so it seems) and the diatomaceous earth was much less effective. I would say that I lost at least one third of the 2nd sowing (if not more) to slugs.
I did try to do a fall planting of lettuce in the third week of August, sowing directly outdoors, but it was a complete failure with barely any germination. Was it because of slugs, earwigs, not enough moisture? I have no idea. Obviously, for me, transplants are the way to go when it comes to lettuce. So I didn’t have any fall lettuce last year, which I’m sure was missed once September/October rolled around.
|Mounds of Lettuce under the Row Cover in Mid-June|
Ruby Red was very similar to Royal Red in terms of colour & flavour, but nowhere near as prolific. Rougette de Montpellier was the least favourite having a slightly bitter edge, even when young. Both of these varieties will be dropped.
I was so busy this year that I didn’t sow any lettuce in late summer and, of course, I ended up regretting it once the tomato plants were pulled. I have to do a better job on the fall lettuce next year & hopefully I’ll be able to extend the harvest into October/November, like I did in 2012.
I made a note in 2012 that the fall sowing should have been done a couple of weeks earlier so that it sized up a bit more before the cold weather set in. But since my fertilization methods were significantly beefed up this year, I’ll probably maintain the same sowing date for a fall crop next year & see how it does.
Till next time...