Up on the hilltop, the lettuce went in last week. Hurray! And then a few days later, a whopper of a storm tracked through our area and they were pummeled by strong winds and heavy rain. Boo!
I considered placing a cover on the bed ahead of time, but then thought this may do more harm than good, as the winds would likely rip off the cover and cause further damage.
On the topic of lettuce, let's look back at how wonderful the bed was last year:
Hard to believe that those tiny, fragile seedlings will grow up and provide basket upon basket of deliciousness.
I harvest practically all of it on a cut-and-come-again basis and over the past few years, I've been cutting back on how much bed space I use. I'm down to a 3'x4' spot and this seems to be just about right. I still get a small glut at some point, but it's manageable.
It was a good lettuce year, especially in light of the heat, but it could have been better as we ended up being "lettuceless" as of mid-July.
I didn't sow a 2nd crop but did obtain transplants in September from the farm. Unfortunately, these didn't amount to anything. I'm not sure if it was the late planting or the fact that I didn't amend the bed before I transplanted but the seedlings just refused to grow.
This year, I'm planning on being a bit more organized (aren't we all??) and getting to that 2nd sowing of lettuce in mid-summer. I'm also hoping to do a fall sowing in late August - harvesting lettuce from the garden in October or even November is such a treat!
|Fall lettuce staying cozy under Agribon.|
Guess when this photo was taken? November 2015!
When it comes to lettuce seeds, I’ve come to a realization. They lose a lot of their vigour after only 2 years. Several of the varieties I'm growing are from 2+ year old seeds (Sierra MI, Pinares and Jericho) and these had fairly bad results. Germination was spotty and, of those seeds that did germinate, many were weak and barely grew. I still managed to get a few seedlings from them, but the leftovers have all been tossed.
Of course, seeds don't have to be old to have issues. Last year I had problems with two newly purchased varieties: Sweetie Baby had sparse germination and Freckles was a total dud with zero germination after 2 attempts.
This spring, I purchased a fresh packet of Freckles (from a different supplier) as well as a couple of new to me varieties: Tropicana & Mignonette Bronze. All of these did quite well on the germination/growth front...until they were battered by that storm that is.
|Mignonette Bronze on April 6th|