Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Six Varieties of Lettuce....for now

First things first.  In my last post where I spoke about my new nail-biting venture, I also indicated that I was finally changing the email subscriptions from feedburner to Mailchimp...aaaand of course I messed something up.  It looks like not everyone that subscribed under "The Gardening Me" (vs.  those that subscribed under the old website name "Homegrown - Adventures in my Garden") received a notification.  Apologies to those that were affected by this.  I have since fixed it (I hope!) and we should be good now.  Once again, if any of you notice any glitches with the notification, are receiving duplicate emails or have any other issues, do let me know.  Thanks so much :)

Now, on to todays post...

This year, much like with most other veg that I'm growing, it's all about variety when it comes to growing lettuce.  I actually went a little overboard when refreshing my lettuce seed stash and ended up getting a few packets in every single order that I placed.

Last years lettuce starts

Lettuce seed does not have the greatest longevity - if it's any older than a couple of years, germination is iffy.  Sometimes it's fine, but more often than not I have issues so I decided to purge any leftover packets in my stash that were older than 1 year - which was most of them - and start fresh.  I ended up with 12 varieties in total which is WAY more than I needed - I'm blaming it on forgetfulness and tempting seed catalogue photos and descriptions 😜

I sorted through the packets and decided to grow six varieties right now and six later in the season.  Those that I chose to grow this spring are as follows:

  • Concept Batavian - Sweet, crisp, heat tolerant.  In the past, Batavian has been my hands down favourite type of lettuce although I've not grown this particular variety before.
  • Blushed Butter Cos - Combination of butterhead and romaine - intriguing!  10" heads with savoy leaves in shades of red and green.
  • Flashy Butter Gem - Romaine type dappled in dark red with crisp leaves; slow to bolt. 
  • Lollo Rossa - Very curly leaves are light green with red edges
  • Devil's Ear - Crisp, bitter free, huge leaves, slow to bolt.
  • Slobolt - The name says it all 😉.  Green frilled leaves, never bitter.

This year's lettuce starts - about 1 week old

I sowed the seeds on April 5th and I've had fairly good germination on most of them except for Flashy Butter Gem (3 of 6 seeds germinated) and Blushed Butter Cos where only one teeny tiny seedling is just  popping up now.


Blushed Butter Cos seedling


Since the other varieties did so well, I'm thinking that there may be an issue with the Blushed Butter Cos seed.  Yesterday I decided to sow a few more seeds (20 actually, just to be sure) & see what happens.

The lettuce seedlings may be small now, but it won't be long until these babies will be ready to go into the ground - no more than a couple of weeks, I would say.

There may be a hold up, however, as I'm waiting on a soil test.  Since all of the new raised beds were filled with bulk triple mix last fall (a combination of topsoil/humus/compost), I have no idea what the nutrient levels are and want to get some idea of that before adding amendments/preparing the beds for planting.

I'm also waiting on the materials that I need to reinforce the picket fencing to keep out rabbits as well as install drip irrigation - both high priority jobs that I need to get started on this month.

Putting the pickets any closer together would have resulted
in a more "solid" look, which I didn't really want,
which means that I need to address the gaps.

The fencing has 2.5" gaps between the pickets which is nothing for young rabbits to get through.  I'll be adding hardware cloth to the back of the fence which, once painted black together with the fence, will be barely noticeable.  I'll also be adding hardware cloth along the bottom edge which will be partially buried (in the mulch that is now sitting on my driveway, waiting to be spread).

It's been quite a long time since I've had this much "preliminary" work to do in the garden before I can plant - not since I set up the drip irrigation in the old beds years ago.  It's always so nice to have everything in place at the beginning of the season - the only work, really, is adding compost to the beds and running the water to the vegetable garden.  And that's what I'll be reminding myself of in the coming weeks as I'm fiddling with cutting & installing hardware cloth, laying down the drip irrigation system for the new raised beds and running a poly mainline to both the main vegetable garden and the hilltop veg area.  Oh, and there's a whole pile of cleanup left to do from the fence installation & one raised bed that has yet to be put in place and filled.  Yup, a lot of work yet to do - and spring is so very busy as it is! - but SO very worth it once it's done.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

6 comments:

  1. With all your planning, preparation, and seed-sowing, it looks like you're headed for a bumper year in the garden, Margaret. I do miss growing lettuce. Maybe I'll tuck some in with the flowers in my cutting garden this year...but then, maybe that would make my rabbit problem worse.

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    1. Fresh lettuce is so easy to grow & definitely one of the most underrated crops out there - but I hear you on the bunnies. We have MORE than our fair share of bunny woes around here!

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  2. You sure are a bundle of energy! It will be so great when done. I did not know lettuce would lose its germination so fast. I had better get planting! Nancy

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    1. Oh, you are so sweet, Nancy. Lettuce is a weird one - I've gotten several years out of a couple of varieties but most peter out pretty quickly. If I have an older packet that I need to use up, I put it in my "succession planting" pile & use the scatter method - uses up the seeds and is super easy to do!

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  3. I love growing lots of different lettuces and greens for salad. Thankfully using a veg drug has kept the critters out.

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    1. Yes, the rabbits can wreak havoc on the greens without some form of protection. Thankfully we don't contend with wood pigeons eating lettuce like they do in the UK!

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