Lettuce Be Thankful for Lettuce

We’ve grown lots of different types of lettuce over the years, in the spring and in the fall. Most of the varieties we’ve planted in the past have, for a variety of reasons, fallen by the wayside. Now we only grow lettuce in the spring and we only grow green romaine (from transplants) and a salad mix (from seed).

But it looks like that is going to change.

We installed our hoop house in mid-October, a couple of months earlier than anticipated. The site we picked out for it happened to be where we grew sweet potatoes this year–the last crop we harvest. It also happens to be some of our most difficult soil to work–red clay.

So there was no time to do much soil prep (not much that could be done, in any event) before the hoop house went up.

It’s new to us and I had no idea what to plant in it. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I Β broke up the crusty clay with a shuffle hoe, shoveled in a thin layer of leaf compost, and broadcast some extra seed we had left over from earlier in the year. On October 29. If nothing grew I figured we wouldn’t have lost anything–spring was when we expected to begin using the house anyway.

Our favorite lettuce mix is called All Star, from Johnny’s. It’s a mix of lettuces, green and red, intended to be planted thick and cut while little. We had some of that seed left, so I tossed it onto one of the improvised beds and waited to see what would happen.

And guess what? Shut my mouth if we didn’t get ourselves a fine crop of baby lettuce.

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We’ve been eating it and sharing it with our farmer’s market customers for months now. It grows slowly this time of year, and so far (despite a crazy warm/hot winter) it hasn’t bolted.

I’m still not sure what all we’ll be doing in the hoop house next winter, but I’d say the odds are very good that overwintering lettuce will be one of them.

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24 comments on “Lettuce Be Thankful for Lettuce

  1. shoreacres says:

    That looks so darned good I suddenly want lettuce for breakfast — and I’m not even a lettuce aficionada!

    Like

  2. Laurie Graves says:

    Oh, yum! My mouth is watering. That lettuce looks delectable.

    Like

  3. I wished I lived by you Bill, I would be one of your customers.

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    • Bill says:

      Thanks Gordon. We’ve had to stop taking pre-orders this winter because we can’t meet demand, which is primarily due to how slow things mature rather than a huge customer base. But still…

      Like

  4. Send some over here! How cold do your winters get?

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    • Bill says:

      Today was pretty typical of normal weather this time of year. High 47, low 32. But most days this winter haven’t been typical. We had 3 days of record highs last week, one of which was 12 degrees above the previous record. The forecast for 9 out of the next 10 days is for highs in the 70’s, not at all typical of February.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nita says:

    Beautiful! Almost, almost makes me wish we lived further south.

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    • Bill says:

      Thanks to the blogosphere, I’ve come to appreciate our mild winters more than ever. I admire those of y’all who endure the long dark northern winters, but I wouldn’t want to have to do it!

      Like

  6. To my color starved eyes, that is a beautiful sight indeed!

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  7. NebraskaDave says:

    Bill, having a high hoop house opens the door to a whole new experience of growing. Elliot Coleman is a master at hoop house growing. He has written many books on gardening and willingly shares his journey over the years through books and speeches. He’s somewhat of an inventor as well and has designed many tools that are suited for raised bed growing. He lives in Maine and yet grows market vegetables all year round. He’s written a total of seven books over the last two decades of which all are about gardening. Two are about year round gardening. There’s lots of good information in any one of them. They are all available on Amazon, of course.

    However, it looks like you are doing just fine on your own. The lettuce looks awesome and hopefully it’s bringing some good income. I wish we had farmer’s markets here during the Winter months but it’s mostly from June through October. Road side stand usually start when the tomatoes start coming in and quit when they’re done.

    Have a great hoop house gardening day.

    Nebraska Dave
    Urban Farmer
    dbentz24@gmail.com

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    • Bill says:

      Elliott Coleman is one of the heroes of our movement.

      The hoop house is doing well, but it’s not producing much income for us this time of year. We’re selling about $100/week from it. Better than nothing I suppose, but nothing to get excited about.

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  8. thecrazysheeplady says:

    I’m thrilled to see this as we’ve resurrected an old tobacco greenhouse for a neighborhood greenhouse. This will be our first year and lettuce is one of the crops I’m most excited about. I’ve been able to keep some going in my tiny home greenhouse this easy winter. Having a ground crop and some heat when needed is going to be fun :-). Thanks for sharing. Keep us posted!

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  9. So wonderful to have fresh lettuce!!

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  10. Emma@ Misfit Gardening says:

    It looks so delicious! Now I really want to start my lettuce seeds!

    Like

  11. ain't for city gals says:

    Lettuce is the one thing we can grow easily here is Az during the winter…early spring….without any covering. And we enjoy every last bite! Now the summer is a different story…

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    • Bill says:

      I know people who grow it year round here, but I don’t bother in the summer. The lettuce is too bitter imo and it bolts easily. We only grow it in the spring (and winter).

      Like

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