Good Gardening: Summer Lettuce

Aug 5, 2019

It can be tough to keep harvesting lettuce - at last edible lettuce-  through the heat of summer.  The first planting has gone to seed and since many fall vegetables won't sprout in warm soil, you can be left with no salad on the table.

There is a way to solve this problem.  It involves luck and location.  When you see a few cool- ok, not hot- days coming up, water a partly shady spot in your vegetable patch, and put in a few seeds.  Keep them moist, and in 3 or 4 days you should get a few plants popping up.  Lettuce, beets, arugula carrots and kale can all be sprouted by choosing a cool spot during cool weather.  Don't plant during a hot snap.  You will be disappointing by the lack of results. 

Our July chill of a few weeks back gave me the chance to get spring greens growing again.  While your August harvest might be sparse, if the plants are established soon, they will provide nice greens for fall salads.  And beets and carrots sprouted midsummer will taste much better into the winter than plants that were started in march and survived the heat of summer.

Another way to sprout seeds that don't like warm soil is to move your garden around to avoid the sun. Fill a wheelbarrow half fun of soil, and move it into the shade as the sun moves through the yard.  If you've gardened in the same spot for a few years you already know the Goldilocks spots in your yard.  Not too hot, or cold, but just right.

A little fertilizer- fish emulsion works well - would be a good idea too since you are squeezing two crops out of the same soil. Once the plants are an inch or two high, transplant them into that perfect spot in your regular garden, keep them damp and look forward to the salad days of September.

Copyright KLCC, 2019