Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Planting Lettuce

I made a new bed this year. It is a tiny little thing off in the corner. It doesn't get much sun. It is shaded by the crab apple tree and the fence at certain times of the day. In the spring I grew Chinese cabbage. Then I tried direct seeding lettuce here. I really didn't think it would work, but I figured it was little effort to try.

And it didn't work. This bed is close to the compost pile and I've let the weeds (mostly clover, parsley, and dill) get a bit over grown. The slugs love this area. They throw parties here every night. It isn't a garden bed but a slug nightclub. The seeds didn't have a chance. When the seeds thought about germinating, the slugs had them as appetizers before moving onto the clover and dill.

I don't give up quite that easily. I grew some seedlings indoors. I didn't go to the trouble of putting them into soil blocks. I'm really not sure they will live through the onslaught. I just threw some soil into an old plastic container and tossed down some seed. Well the seed germinated and grew all tangled together. It might have been easier to start, but soil blocks are so much easier to get into the ground.

I still planted them out. I tried to gently untangle the roots. I killed a few. A few may die in a couple days from their damaged roots, but doesn't the bed look so nice now? I wonder what it will look like tomorrow? Will there be any green left in the bed?

I do have a real bed for my lettuce. I raised lettuce in soil blocks for that bed. They will live. I want more though. Lettuce doesn't grow as well in the fall as it does in the spring so more space is good.


  1. I'm planting my lettuce today also. I think that it may still be a bit warm here in August, but I'm hoping it will cool down quickly so they don't bolt. I figure there's a gazillion lettuce seeds in the packet so I can afford to 'waste' a few.

  2. We had to put out slug bait this spring.....they were eating everything!! Your lettuce is pretty and I hope it does good.

  3. I was just mentioning to my husband last night that I am behind on getting lettuce succession crops going! I started up some cells of lettuce several weeks ago but had terrible germination for some reason. I need to either get more seed trays going or do a direct sowing this week. Either will work and I have some open spots in the garden beds now - so probably will just direct sow.

    We always battle slugs here.

  4. Hope it all works out. I am hopeless at getting lettuce to germinate, no matter what I do it does not work. And here in the balcony garden I have a load of lettuce because I eat it every day! Lets hope the slugs kept at bay and you can enjoy lots of green goodness soon enough.

  5. The summer of the slugs! I've resorted to lots of throwing seeds into peat pots and letting them get some size before I let them meet the slugs. Abundance is not us in this garden.

  6. Your lettuce starts look very good. I just seeded some lettuce last week in cell packs, merlot & little gem. Now I just need to find a spot for them in a couple weeks.

  7. They look good, and slugs are rotten.

    How do you feel about the iron slug baits?

  8. Ribbit, I figured that too when I direct seeded the bed. It didn't work out but it was just a few lettuce seed.

    MissyM. I usually go slug hunting. I leave their dead little bodies out on the fence posts for the birds. They must like them because they don't last long in the morning.

    kitsapFG, direct sowing never works here in the summer. Too many slugs. It works great in the spring though. I often direct seed then.

    prue, in a balcony garden slugs must be the pests you just don't get. I suppose they could crawl up, but mine are always invading from the lawn.

    June, I let my brassica transplants get bigger this year than normal. I don't usually pot them up. This year I did to give them that extra size before throwing them to the slugs. Weirdly the sow bugs are eating them more than the slugs are.

    Dan, lol yup finding a space for it all is tricky. I never know if I want a plant to keep producing or I should rip it up for the space. I've got most of my fall plants in now. I have only one more succession of lettuce, one of the quick Asian greens, mache and spinach. Then I'm all done. For me it seems to never end. All the successions. Sometimes I look forward to the fall so I can quit seeding more plants.

    Stefaneener, I have nothing against it. I've never tried it. I've been a little afraid to. The slugs love the lawn. I have millions of them in there and in the woods. I'm afraid that if I put bait in the garden it would just attract more into the garden. So I've hand picked. I have thought about slug baiting the lawn around the garden. That might work. Right now the garden has less slugs than the surrounding area. My wild birds love the garden. I'm fairly sure they are helping me with slug control this year. I haven't been out handpicking recently and the slugs haven't gotten worse (well in the garden at any rate).

  9. Hey Daphne,
    Sorry to hear about your slug problem. I've never seen a slug out here... must be too dry for them... but I DO remember them in MA.

    I recently planted more baby romaine in different squares. It's coming up! One of my romaine plants bolted just the other day... ripped that one up... very bitter!!!

  10. Toni, ah for a place without slugs. If only I could get a place with rain and without slugs, but I think that is impossible. Good luck on your lettuse.