Sunday, April 24, 2011

2011 Garden - First Lettuce Harvest

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I planted some lettuce this year, Great Lakes #118 to be exact. This particular variety is a heading lettuce that the seed packet said was great for salads. Sounded good to me at the time, except you have to wait 82 days until the head is ready for harvest. I didn't know the difference at the time between head and loose leaf lettuce. Loose leaf lettuce allows you to harvest a little at a time with a much shorter waiting period.

I started planting this back in late February up until early March. That put my harvest dates around mid May. I don't know a lot about growing lettuce, but I have read that it doesn't like heat and it will bolt to seed when it gets too hot. We have been pushing 90 degrees lately and the lettuce was growing great, but there was no sign of a head forming. I feared it might start bolting, so today I clipped some of the outer leaves on the largest plants. I was surprised at how much lettuce I got from just a few clippings. I washed it thoroughly, and then made a nice little lettuce mountain on my cutting board. I chopped it up really good and it completely engulfed the cutting board. It was the equivalent of two regular store bags of lettuce.

I ate a salad tonight and it was awesome. The lettuce was so crisp and juicy. It was all green lettuce too, not some green and some of the white stem lettuce like you get when you buy it in the store. We will be eating salads this whole week and I have plenty to harvest in future weeks if the weather cools off. I don't know if the outer leaves taste any different than what would form in the head, but it is good enough for me.

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Annie's Granny said...

I harvested the first of my lettuce this week, too. Oh, it just tastes so much better than store bought! I have it growing in succession plantings, two to three weeks apart, and some planted in semi-shade to help it get through future hot days. I probably have about ten varieties, from crisp head to butterhead to leaf. They're all good! I've managed to keep lettuce growing through the summer by making a cover for it from lattice, which provides half sun, half shade and allows water and air to reach the plants.

Kris said...

Nice picture of your lettuce cover. Ten different varieties is pretty impressive. We just had a massive storm pass through and I have to go do a damage assessment from the storm. Good evening.