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Old 02-04-2008, 06:18 AM   #1
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Growing Lettuce

Sign me up!!!! My goal is to not buy a single veggie at the store in the summer. Ok maybe lettuce and celery. I've got 5 acres here and with any luck someday I'll be able to fill half of one with food.

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Old 02-04-2008, 07:37 AM   #2
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Quote:
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My goal is to not buy a single veggie at the store in the summer. Ok maybe lettuce and celery.
No!!! Grow Lettuce, it Couldn`t be more simple honestly
you can do all different sorts as well, just sew a line every few weeks and you`ll never be without

it even works well over winter in the greenhouse, Or on top of the compost heap for an early crop (the heat from the compost helps).

as for celery, you want the self blanching types, although they Can be a bit of a pain to grow as "Shop Standard" to look at, the flavor is great.
we Do buy celery here though, so I don`t blame you on that one
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Old 02-04-2008, 07:49 AM   #3
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once again i agree with yt.

growing lettuce from seeds directly in the ground is almost as easy as growing weeds.

just turn a row, level it and remove any rocks on or near the surface. using your finger, just make a trench no deeper than the last digit of your finger. less than half an inch.
sprinkle in the entire packet of seeds (over a 10 foot row or so) in the trench, then just barely cover the seeds. gently water them in, and keep them moist for a week or two until you see the seedlings poppng up. it'll take a few days to 2 weeks to germinate, depending on the warmth of the soil.

once they've developed a second set of leaves, pick out the plants alternating every few inches to allow the rest to grow, and keep doing this until you've established the spacing you want. btw, those pickings are just as good to eat. in restaurants, you'd pay big bucks for a "micro-greens" salad.
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Old 02-04-2008, 08:01 AM   #4
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I tried it once in a pot, but it was on the deck and I think it just got too hot and dry.

I tried spinach last year and it worked well, but I didn't know when to pick it and I waited to long and it bolted and wasn't too good.
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Old 02-04-2008, 08:04 AM   #5
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yeah, you have to be careful about growing things like that in small pots, the leaves are thin and have a very large surface area, and as such respiration of the plant is greater for it`s mass and requires quite a bit of water to compensate.
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Old 02-04-2008, 08:44 AM   #6
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i would be very interested in seeing a garden forum here...i hope it would encourage a few more people to plant a few vegetables in the front flower bed or the back yard or on the deck.

spinach, i start to pick when the leaves are about 2 inches across. that's baby leaf size. pick the outer leaves first. even if the plant bolts to seed, I have found the leaves at the top of the plant are still tender.
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Old 02-04-2008, 09:05 AM   #7
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don`t forget with spinach it`s a great Cut-and -come-again crop too!
Lettuce will do this too ;)
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Old 02-08-2008, 04:05 AM   #8
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is growing arugula about the same as growing lettuce?

If so would they cohabit in a section of a 2'x8' x 6" deep "flower box"?

Or should I start another thread?

How does Lettuce do in 3 or so hours of direct sunlight and the rest of the time in shade?

I haven't grown anything because of the sunlight/ shade thing.
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:40 AM   #9
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wart, arrugula is just another type of lettuce. it can be grown by itself or even mixed with other lettuce seeds for a type of mesculun salad mix. i grow a 15 foot row every spring, right next to romaine, buttercrunch, and various mixed leaf lettuces.

and yes, it should grow well in the box you described, so long as the soil is rich but drains well. 3 hours of direct sun is a little on the short side, but it depends on how much ambient light or how deep the shade is to be successful or not. in fact, the shading might help protect it in hotter weather, to keep it from bolting to seed too quickly.

just wait until you taste freshly picked arrugula! it has a spiciness to it almost like black pepper. you'll be surprised at how much better it tastes than the stuff you get in stores or restaurants. that stuff is bitter in comparison.
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Old 02-08-2008, 10:30 AM   #10
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Respectfully, while definitely used most often as a salad green, arugula is not "just another type of lettuce". In fact, it's not really a lettuce at all & is more closely related to the radish.

I grow both domestic & wild varieties (which I get from "Seeds of Italy" - a terrific imported Italian seed distributor, by the way (Seeds from Italy), & while you can grow them intermixed with lettuce for a cut-&-come-again crop, I find that they're more temp sensitive than even lettuce is & - at least here in Zone 7 Virginia - tend to shoot up quicker than their lettuce companions. Thus, while the lettuces are still young, buttery, & mild, the arugula can already be too strong for the rest of the mix. Because of this I stopped buying mesclun mixes that had arugula in them.

These days I grow my arugula in separate beds. This way I can pick the correct amount to mix with my cut-&-come-again mixed lettuce beds.

Oh - & it does do well in containers too, so well as you keep it well-watered.
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Old 02-08-2008, 10:51 AM   #11
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breezy, in your warmer clime, i can see how it would become bitter pretty quickly.
wart is in n.e. ohio, so it's closer to my zone. no worries about bolting before the rest of the mix is ready, in most years.

and yes, it is a member of the cruciferae family, more like radishes. but i was speaking in generalities.

i've never seen nor heard of anyone that ate the bulb/root structure.
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
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as for celery, you want the self blanching types, although they Can be a bit of a pain to grow as "Shop Standard" to look at, the flavor is great.
we Do buy celery here though, so I don`t blame you on that one
What is "self-blanching" celery?
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:42 AM   #13
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it has liitle legs that let it jump into a pot of water, then into an ice bath?
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Old 02-08-2008, 12:30 PM   #14
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LOL!!!

Self-blanching celery, like self-blanching cauliflower, grows in a naturally closed-in heading effect so that the inner portions of the plant naturally blanch to a pale tenderness.

Non-self-blanching varieties require that, in the case of celery, you have to do the blanching either by mounding up soil/mulch around the growing plants, use tilted planks of wood, anything to prevent light from reaching the inner portions of the plant.

In the case of cauliflower it involves tying the leaves around the forming head to keep it both tight & white.

I don't bother growing celery myself. It's a PITA, husband doesn't care for it, it's cheap to buy for what little I use, & lasts a long time in the fridge.

I try to base my garden on things that 1) we both really like to eat, 2) things that tend to taste better when home grown, 3) varieties that aren't normally available in local markets, 4) fun new varieties that I've never tried before.
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Old 02-10-2008, 06:19 AM   #15
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I like growing the leaf lettuce types as you can pluck what you need that day or even that hour and get it to the table. I over plant the rows and thin by harvesting the whole small plants for the salad bowl. The mesculin mix is great tasting and colorful IMO.
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Old 02-10-2008, 10:22 AM   #16
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I love to raise my own celery and do not fool with blanching it. I use a lot of celery in cooking and will cut off a stalk or two almost daily from about one month after transplanting to the garden (May) until November. I grow one dozen plants every season. The only requirement is that it needs watered regularly, so I plant them close to the garden gate.
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Old 02-10-2008, 09:51 PM   #17
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A section of my garden is on top of an old cistern (my home is 155 years old). This portion is about 3'X4' and very shallow. This is my lettuce bed, because it is so shallow and lettuce doesn't need much root room. I mix various kinds of leaves, to include spinach, and grow a booming crop every spring. Come late summer, my near-by tomato plot takes it over. Both are great.
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Old 02-10-2008, 09:56 PM   #18
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I wish I had more space here for more veggies. Each year I hedge more and more of her prairie garden out and more veggies in. Still, need to cut back the neighbors tree so I can increase the amount of sun we get. I really really wanna get back to growing some sweet corn ;)
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Old 02-10-2008, 11:14 PM   #19
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mav, what's a prarie garden?
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Old 02-10-2008, 11:22 PM   #20
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Basically, she made my back yard look like it did before people settled this area.
Officially it means she uses only those plants that are native to this region and grew in the prairies here before they were plowed under.
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