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Summer Lettuce Retrospective

September 4, 2013

Now that summer’s nearly over it’s time for some honest evaluation of my attempts to grow lettuce from seed in the warm weather. Even though I live at the coast my success in growing summer lettuce has been limited in recent years. 

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I’ve learned that my winter lettuce varieties won’t do for the summer, so I purchased three that tolerate the warmer weather.

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I planted all three varieties in two rows in front of the eggplant.

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Overturned nursery trays protect emerging seedlings from marauding birds. 

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Last year I didn’t cover the seedlings with row cover and birds feasted on the tender greens. This year, I went on vacation around the time of this picture. Next year I’ll grow lettuce for transplants as commercial growers do.

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Summer lettuce needs coddling. I should have planted it at least a month earlier. Only some of the seedlings made it, so I supplemented with a six pack of lettuce. Wispy row cover protects the lettuce now. Any lettuce leaves that escape the covering become bird food.

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This is an easy shortcut for growing summer lettuce. You can do this on a sunny porch or balcony. Mine has grown well but of course with row cover to protect from the birds.

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And here’s the first of the summer lettuce harvest. Worth all the fuss to have my own lettuce for salads.

Lessons learned:

  • Choose a lettuce variety that does well in warm weather.
  • Protect seedlings from birds.
  • Plant summer lettuce in late spring.
  • Sow lettuce in seed trays for later transplant to the garden.
  • Consider growing lettuce in pots.
  • Don’t give up.

On Lettuce and Conversation

Matisse on Flowers