Technically, all of my posts for the last couple of months should be titled "Late Starts" as I think it was the rare seed that I actually planted on time. The honour of the title, however, went to lettuce as it was the crop that was the most delayed this year - I sowed it 4 weeks later than I should have.
I looked back at my first Harvest Monday post last year, which was at the end of May, and I had several beautiful bowls of lettuce to show off. This year, they are still tiny seedlings at this point. No one to blame but myself on that one as I could have had fairly sturdy starts before my vacation. I don’t quite know what happened but for some reason, I let these fall through the cracks.
4 of the 6 varieties I am growing this year, I also grew last year: Sierra MI (Batavian), Pinares (romaine), Ruby Red (leaf) and Simpson Elite (leaf). I described each of these in my End of Season Review.
Initially, I was going to hold off on growing Simpson Elite again, but decided that I could add two new varieties (Sweetie Baby & Radichetta) and still include this one if I did an even 2 squares per variety in my 3’ x 4’ spot.
Although 12 square feet doesn’t seem like a lot of space for lettuce, based on my experience last year, it was more than enough. In fact, there were times when we couldn’t keep up with the harvest.
|Lettuce, collard & Chinese green bed - June 1, 2014|
Radichetta (Catalogna) (52 days, loose leaf, Pinetree)
|Photo Source: Pinetree|
Sweetie Baby (50-60 days, romaine, Renee's)
|Photo Source: Renee's|
I decided to start off by planting only half of the 2' x 4' space. This decision was made more out of circumstance rather than an actual plan. Because I was so backed up with all of my starts, I knew I was going to have a hard time fitting everything under the grow lights, so why not sow half the lettuce now, and the other half in a month? Basically, it's a succession plan borne out of necessity. If it works out, I may continue to do this in the future.
I did end up with a few extra plants, however, as I wasn't confident with their germination this year (it's been a bad year for that), so I didn't thin each cell to one plant like I should have. And then, of course, I couldn't throw out the extras when I had all that empty space for the 2nd sowing staring me in the face. So I planted them all up.
I planted out the lettuce a couple of days ago and it's looking pretty sorry right now.
|Lettuce bed - Planted up and looking rather sad|
Quite the contrast from last year, that's for sure!
We have, however, been experiencing some unusually high temperatures lately. The lettuce is in a bed that gets some afternoon shade & I'll also be covering it with a bit of Agribon to protect it from the mid-day sun, so I'm hoping that both of these factors help keep it a bit cooler.
Aside from the lettuce, I also wanted to touch on a few additional flowers that I'm growing. Chamomile (new this year) as well as nasturtiums & sunflowers (same varieties as last year). I've taken some photos, not so much because there's a lot to see at this stage (because there isn't), but more for my reference in the future. I find it useful to have photos at different stages of growth so that I can gauge how well (or poorly) a particular plant is doing, how far along it was at a particular point in time, etc.
I was two weeks behind on sowing the nasturtiums and chamomile; I started both from seed in April.
I transplanted a couple of the nasturtium ("Tip Top Alaska Red Shades", William Dam) into a planter in the veg garden and a couple went into my daughters veg bed.
|Nasturtium - 4 weeks|
|Chamomile - 4 weeks|
|Sunflower - 4 weeks|
Till next time…