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Old February 9, 2017   #1
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Omaha Zone 5
Posts: 1,787
Default Seasonal Lettuce Progression

I have a lot to learn about growing lettuce. Most of my plantings have been random. I'm trying to plan out lettuce growing as described on a major sellers site, but I am not growing the varieties they bred for specific conditions.

In general, how do you stagger your lettuce types for early mid and late spring plantings.
For example, which types go in the bed when its very cold, then a little bit less cold, then a little more spring- like .. up to late spring. Iceberg, romaine, batavia?

- Lisa
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Old February 9, 2017   #2
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: MA/NH Border
Posts: 4,563

I used to be a random lettuce grower myself with limited success. Now I label my seed packs with the season the lettuce grows best in (spring, summer, fall), and grow accordingly.

I also gave up on direct sowing as it never gave me good results. Now I start my lettuce in DE (Ultrasorb) several weeks in advance and then transplant out to raised beds.

My spring/early summer crops are the best. I still need to sort out my timeline for late summer/fall crops.
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Old February 10, 2017   #3
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Location: Virginia Beach
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Some varieties will do better in cold and some will do better in heat, of course, so you can plan that way. I find it easier to just plant all mine at once but the leaf varieties will be ready long before the heading types. That is how my harvest is staggered. First I go through the leaf, then the butter/bibb and the last to be ready is usually the full sized romaine types.
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Old February 10, 2017   #4
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Location: Vancouver Island
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Lettuce grows better in part shade in hot weather. I too have found that starting seed and then transplantingvat the correct spacing makes for the best heads. It also gives a head start in spring. Trouble I find is I always have too much at once and not enough later. Succession planting even of a single variety helps.
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Old February 10, 2017   #5
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Zone 5A, Poconos
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Just start indoors about 6 weeks before your last frost date and plant 2 seeds per cell, repeat once a week for 4 weeks. Cut the weakest looking plant from each cell, if you had both sprout. Transplant all on your last frost date and then sow some additional seed in the ground and repeat a week later ... this should get you a steady supply starting in about 30 days with the leaf types and 50 days with the head type, successively harvesting through the Summer. Start your Fall crop indoors about 12 weeks before first frost when it is too hot outside and plant out once the daytime temps have settled below 80F.

Same as above for cabbage/spinach, except you can usually plant out earlier and leave in the ground later.

Watch the amount that you plant at once, because you will get overrun with it at certain times.
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Old February 15, 2017   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Delaware
Posts: 227

I started gardening because I eat a lot of lettuce. I have experimented with many varieties. I also label my packages with "heat tolerant" or "cold tolerant". Direct sowing has not worked well for me. I couldn't figure out why for months until I noticed tiny little ants running off with my seeds.

Now I start them indoors, similar to micro-greens, a shallow tray with an inch of soil. I keep it pretty wet and transplant when the seedlings are about 3/4 inch high. I just wet the soil really well, like to mud pie consistency, then grab a handful of mud that has at least one seedling and place into my raised beds. Water immediately and thoroughly and the shallow roots find their own way into their new home. I do this throughout the summer. But sometimes it gets too hot in my house to germinate new seeds. I am experimenting with some different green for the hottest part of the season this year...purselane, burnet, and Malabar spinach.
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