Plant? NOW?

Temperatures are climbing into the 90s, your spring-planted crops are reaching maturity, and you’re excited about garden fresh salads and new potatoes. Besides harvesting your bounty, there are millions of weeds to be pulled, poisoned, or decapitated. The last thing on your mind is planting more seeds.

In more benign climates, fall crops go in at the end of the summer, after the worst heat has passed. But our short season demands that we plant fall crops earlier, to give them time to mature before the snow flies. Now is the time.


Q: Can you give me some hints and tips for growing lettuce?

A: Lettuce is a cool season vegetable which means that it can be planted very early in the spring, as much as 2-to-4 weeks before the average last (spring) frost date. It survives frosty nighttime temperatures and grows with daytime temperatures as low as 40 degrees. Freshly picked lettuce has a delicious taste that is far better than grocery store lettuce.

There are four different general varieties of lettuce though leaf lettuce, rather than head lettuce, is the most common for home gardens as the leaves can be harvested as needed, leaving the plant to regenerate more leaves. (more…)

lettuce.jpgA great indoor project for gardening in winter is growing lettuce. Yes, you can grow and enjoy homegrown lettuce even when it is below freezing outside. In fact, some gardeners keep lettuce growing year round! Other gardeners enjoy just a bit of a break from the gardening season, but most gardeners I know are once again eager to be growing something by mid-winter.

If you’d like to grow your own lettuce inside, here is what you will need:
– potting soil
– a small container, such as the plastic containers much produce now comes in at the grocery store (anywhere from 5 inches by 8 inches or larger)
– lettuce seeds (see tips below)
– a warm spot to germinate the seeds
– a fluorescent light fixture with two 40-watt cool bulbs hung over a shelf
– a tray for placing underneath your container
– a timer for the light fixture (more…)