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Dumb question of the day about planting lettuce, et c.


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According to the handy-dandy planting calendar published by the county extension, we're supposed to be planting lettuces and other cold-weather crops.

 

Do they mean in the ground? Outside?

 

They know, and I know they know b/c they told me, that we get over-night lows b/l 32 and frosts well past now. Won't the plants freeze?

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They are cold hardy. If you are going to get really seriously cold temps under 20 degrees it would be worth it to cover them up but I actually have turnip greens, flat leaf parsley and lettuce from last fall springing back to life in my garden and they've all been under a decent amount of snow this winter at various times. Your lettuce and greens will only do well while the weather is cool, once it gets up in the 80s in late May they bolt, which means the stems get long and stringy and the leaves smaller and bitter.

 

So, plant with no worries! This is the right time. Cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, asian greens, lettuces, etc. all need to go in about now with minor date adjustments for your gardening zone.

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Lettuce and other greens can easily be sown from seed and will grow quickly. I usually either start head cabbage and broccoli or buy starts for them ready to go in the ground about now so they will have time to get fully mature before it gets too hot. Most plants and the various varieties will have days to maturity listed on the plant cell pack or on the seed pack. So, if a lettuce needs 45 days to maturity, then you will be picking greens in about 5-6 weeks. Any hybrid that has "early" in the name is generally going to reach maturity faster than other varieties.

 

You will have to tend to them a bit, make sure you plant in amended soil (so mix in good compost) if they are going directly in the ground and fertilize every couple weeks at half strength.

 

Hope that helps!

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