Lettuce

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by perennial, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    What are the best lettuces to grow in MA - zone 6? We like dark leafy greens. Which ones are easiest to clean and bug resistant?

    On an average week, we spent about $7-8 on lettuce (3 heads) so i would
    prefer to grow it, if possible.

    MIL said it was too much work for her to clean to be worth it, she also doesn't eat two salads a day.
     
  2. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    There is such a wide variety available it would be hard to pin one down. I like to plant leaf lettuce and cut leaves off the plant. If you do that you can keep harvesting for a prolonged period. Mulch your beds and that will keep dirt from splashing up around the plants. If you are ordering lettuce you might look for a pkg of mixed leaf lettuce. When they finally bolt save the seeds from the plants you like the best.
     

  3. amwitched

    amwitched Well-Known Member

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    I plant the mesclun lettuce mix. It grows really when in the cooler weather, so zone 6 should not be a problem.
     
  4. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    How about something like baby oak leaf? Pick any lettuce young and the don't plant the ones that are heading like iceburg.
     
  5. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    My favorite is salad bowl. DH likes romaine. We both like spinach. The red leaf types are nice too. My chickens love lettuce so we usually plant plenty. You can grow it in the middle of summer if you cover it with remay or cheese cloth type fabric.
     
  6. Sylvia

    Sylvia Well-Known Member

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    Here's what I did. I've planted all the above mentioned. I just have a backyard garden so I don't know if this well help you. I did an intensive sowing. As I thinned out plants I transplanted them in between other veggies, ones I knew would get tall enough to provide shade. I also transplanted them to the sides of my mounds which would get the least sun. (This also helped the mounds to stay intact and not erode.) By the time the larger lettuce plants were pulled out the seedlings which were slow growing had more space so they would start growing faster. I would put another seed in the spot where I harvested and I had continuous non- bolting lettuce until fall.

    Here in zone6 PA, i still have mustard greens and arugula. They even stayed green in the snow. Arugula is a peppery tasting salad green that is popular in Italian restaurants. The more you cut off leaves the more you get as long as you don't let it go to seed. Hope this helps.
     
  7. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    Can you tell i'm a newbie to gardening (only 3 years)

    What does bolt mean and why cheesecloth on top?
     
  8. Thoughthound

    Thoughthound Well-Known Member

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    Darker leaves are generally more healthy.

    Romaine is an excellent dark lettuce. It's biggest con is that it takes 65 days to mature in ideal weather.

    Salad bowl is good, but I prefer Grand Rapids for leaf. It isn't as dark, but it is darker than Simpson, which is about the lightest you'll get next to iceburg. GR takes about 45 days to mature, so you could succession sew for about a 6 week rotation and always have top quality.

    I don't do the cut and come again. The quality diminishes and then one day it's worthless and your next crop is not ready.

    Spaced at 6 inch intervals, I'd expect each plant to produce about 4 ounces of useable leaf. Don't plant too much or you'll waste time and effort for something that won't keep.

    Bolting is when the plant flowers and produces seed. Lettuce turns bitter at that stage. Plants go to seed when they are stressed or receive enough light to trigger the natural response.

    "Cheesecloth," or row cover, refers to a lightweight fabric that allows the passage of some sun and water but protects the plant from insects and possibly sun damage.

    If you are in Zone 5 or warmer, you will have a tough time growing lettuce without shade once the temperatures go above 80.
     
  9. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    I grew salad greens for sale in WA state. I made up a mixed bag of lettuces and other greens. I used many of the cole crops and also the chinese types. I carefully picked each leaf, leaving enough leaves to support the plant for further growth. I alternated sides of the beds each week, so that regrowth had two weeks to grow. I dumped the greens into a laundry tub full of ice water and swished it around. I actually used two tubs and then spread them out on towels to drain. I then packaged them into cellophane (not plastic) bags, added some herb sprigs and edible blossoms, tied it shut and packed them into the styro coolers overnight, ready for the farmers' market early the next morning.

    For just us, I would thinly sow some mesclun mix in a cooler spot, and pick the leaves as needed rotating thru the bed. I like the mesclun mixes for the variety they provide. They would then get washed and into the reefer for the day, so they are nice and crisp that evening. I would keep two beds operating, one in use, and by the time the other bed is ready, discontiinue the first. Refresh it with compost and plant for when bed #2 gets tired.

    I saw a good system for shading the lettuce during the hot summer. A trellis was fashioned that with the help of two legs, sloped over the rest of the bed. Cukes were planted in the sun, and lettuce in the shade of the trellis. The trellis itself was just a square of 2x2 with either wire or lattice.

    I hope this works for someone.