I just have a few more overviews (Asian greens, other brassicas, and tally overview) and then I will be done. Yay! It is a lot of work finding all my dates and remembering everything, but I know I won't be able to remember next year, so it is going to help me out.
This year I grew two kinds of radish, Pinetree mix and Reggae. I didn't like the taste of Reggae all that much. It is supposed to be more resistant to insects (for me this means the root maggot). I only grew them in spring under a row cover so didn't even get to see if it was resistant. But the taste was not to my liking. In the Pinetree mix I thought the White icicle was the best tasting of all and the French breakfast not far behind. So those are the two I'm growing next year.
I planted the radishes on 3/26 between the rows of lettuce and harvested 0.8 pounds from 5/2-5/16. I was very remiss about sowing successions. I did put one in under the brassica row cover, but it never got good roots. It could be from lack of light or being planted where the broccoli root maggots were. Either way there was no harvest. I totally forgot about them in the fall. Next year I intend to do better (famous second to last words). I like radishes. They aren't the be all and end all of my garden, but they are a nice addition to salads. In some years I get very ambitious and make radish top soup out of the greens, but this year I was too lazy. Next year (famous last words).
Lettuce. Oh how I waited impatiently for my lettuce to come in. I grew so much this spring that I'm sick of it still. I eat the occasionally salad from my massive haul, but I have to not burn myself out on it so much in the spring. It is hard since it is one of the few early producers.
I sowed the first seed indoors on 2/21 for what I thought was a super early crop. It started getting hardened off on good days on 3/13 and was transplanted under a row cover on 3/27. I should have done an earlier one. This one was the best of all the lettuce successions (every two to three weeks more got planted). I called it an extra early one because it was earlier than I'd done in the past. Next year even earlier. Note to self on dates. The early plants were grown with the LED lights and they don't grow as fast this way. I probably only need three weeks for the transplants to reach a good size.
The lettuce did very well this year with all the cold and rain. In early August the lettuce started bolting and I let the Deer Tongue and Red Sails go to seed. So I saved seed for the first time. The plants were 12' apart which is considered the minimum distance for isolation. So they should be fine, but I wish one were a white seeded type and one a black seeded so I could tell if they did cross at all.
The main spring lettuce bed was about 3'x3' with plants spaced 8" apart. The fall bed was about 2'x2'. I harvested 7.2 pounds of lettuce. I only grew the plants to full size. Next year I have to grow many more transplants so I can eat the thinnings earlier. Having tiny transplants taking up the whole spot was silly. The bulk of the fall lettuce was planted in early August in a new bed this year in the shady part of the garden by the compost pile. I've never grown in this section before because I considered it too shady to grow anything. Not only is is under the shade of the oaks in the morning, but it is smack up against the fence so doesn't even get any afternoon light. The lettuce grew fine. In fact early on it grew better there than in the main bed. Though the main bed did catch up in October.
I grew five kinds of lettuce this year - Red Sails, New Red Fire, Merveille de Quatre Saison, Australian Yellow Leaf, and Deer Tongue. Red Sails is my tried and true lettuce. It is a slow bolter and seems to be able to handle the cold as well. It tastes good and is very prolific. New Red Fire was touted as a replacement for Red Sails. Except for the seed being white it was hard to tell them apart. I didn't see or taste any improvement. They seemed not identical but so similar it didn't matter which one you grew. So I'll stay with my tried and true.
MQS was the most beautiful of all my lettuces. It was just stunning red and green in the garden. But other than that it was just OK. It tasted good as did Red Sails. It wasn't quick to bolt but bolted a tad before Red Sails. It wasn't as prolific though. I would say it gave me just a bit more than half the poundage of Red Sails. So it won't be grown again unless I decided to try overwintering it some year (hence I didn't toss the seed).
The last two were both from a trade from Dan. Australian Yellow Leaf is a bright chartreuse. It never grew all that well for me and bolted quickly. In addition I didn't like the taste. So it lost on all counts. Deer Tongue was a surprise gift in the trade and it really surprised me. It wasn't that prolific and didn't hold as long as Red Sails, but it was an extremely tasty lettuce. It will have a place in my garden next year. I however will not give it the full 8" spacing. It is a smaller lettuce. I could probably half the spacing and it would grow fine. Thanks Dan!
So this year I was trialing red lettuces (except for my trades) to see if I could get better than Red Sails. I failed to do that. Red Sails will be my goto red lettuce. Next year I want to try some Romaine. I haven't tried growing it in a long time and it is probably my favorite lettuce type.
As for diseases and insect pests. I haven't found them to be much of a problem as long as I transplant seedlings. If I don't the slugs will eat them to the ground before they get started. The slugs don't really damage the larger ones much. They like the brassicas that grow right next to them better so tend to live over there. I do occasionally find a few aphids but not many this year which is surprising since other plants this year had an aphid explosion (and a lacewing and ladybug explosion not long after to get rid of them).
Next year I think I don't want to do all the successions I've been doing. It is too much work. I want to do three successions instead. Early spring, mid spring, and fall (only in that shady spot). This will open the lettuce bed for more brassicas in the fall and keep me from dealing with so many successions. Lettuce does hold pretty well in the garden and I'm pretty tired of all the successions. Plus it will give my taste buds a break from lettuce. Other things to remember: plant an early crop with the peas and spinach under a row cover to see how early they can be pushed; plant the fall crop in full shade at the beginning of August; grow more transplants and place them at least twice as close together so I can eat the thinnings; Deer tongue is a smaller lettuce, don't give it as much space.