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Tips on growing lettuce?

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For the lettuce, you might be planting too late in the season. Very early spring is best...by the time it's actually warm outside it's really too late to plant the lettuce (at least here in PA). Too much heat/sun leads to bolting, which gives bitter lettuce.



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I agree about the lettuce. We have lettuce in frames now and will plant out in Feb/March. By May it's too late for most varieties here, though we've had some luck with Cimmaron and Jericho. We use other greens throughout the summer.


Here my cukes are only bitter during drought times, but in NH they were bitter when the summers were too cool. Summer before last, no matter how much we watered they were awful; it was just too hot and too dry. Maybe it's just stress related?


Maybe you just need to water a bit more and hope for more sun? ;) Also mulching is always helpful to prevent water loss.


I'm in Zone 7a, though so ymmv.


happy gardening!


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Lettuce is best if it grown quickly in cool weather (45-80 degrees F) and fairly rich soil (or better, if you have it). To grow it quickly, fertilize with plenty of nitrogen (manure, or alfalfa or soy meal) when you plant it. Also, make sure it has plenty of moisture. Certain lettuce varieties are more heat tolerant. Batavian (or crisphead) types, with their thicker, more succulent leaves can be grown in the summer, especially in afternoon shade or under a shade cloth, well-watered and thickly mulched. Nevada, Jericho, and Summertime are good varieties for hot weather, and some catalogs sell mixes of different types for summer. There are also types that tolerate cold weather well and will grow in a coldframe for most of the off-season. Look for names of varieties and mixes that say "winter."

Here's what Barbara Damrosch, one of my favorite garden writers, has to say about lettuce:





Cucumbers taste best when grown in very rich soil, with plenty of moisture. I make their spots extra fertile, with lots of manure and organic fertilizer mixed in. I trellis them (not necessary but the cukes grow straighter, then you can grow lettuce in the underneath in the shade), put a soaker hose with quick connects in the bed, and mulch all around. Look for seed catalog descriptions that specifically state "bitter free" for the tastiest varieties. I find pickling types to be the tastiest for any kind of eating. We also loved the variety "Pearl" last summer. It's pale skinned, very prolific, and very good. I really liked how the lighter colored cukes were easier to find - it kept us from getting the big yellow blimps from overlooked fruit. Once the cukes turn into blimps, the vine usually stops producing.

Here's an what Barbara has to say about growing cucumbers:


Here's a link to the simple trellis I use for cukes:


No, the vines did not just stay on the trellis, but it helped!




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Sorry, I've been off the boards, and away, in that order. :)


I didn't read all the Damrosch links but agree that she is a great resource. Forgive any duplication.


My thoughts on the lettuce --


Properly grown leaf lettuce (enough moisture, temps not too cool or too hot, good nutrients) takes about 6-8 weeks from seed to full grown plant. After a certain period of growth, the plant will naturally bolt (elongate and ready itself to flower and produce seeds). In lettuce, considerable heat can cause bolting before the plant has really produced well at all. After bolting, the leaves will, naturally, become more bitter. In order to keep a tasty supply of lettuce throughout the season, you'll need to sow lettuce seeds every 2-4 weeks from spring to fall. Home gardeners often forget this step and want their spring lettuces to continue to produce and taste good through an entire summer. Not happenin'! ;) Also, as has been mentioned, certain varieties are better suited for summer/hot weather production. Crispheads and summercrisps are more tolerant of heat and less likely to bolt prematurely. Read online or ask your seed source for ideas. Here's a seed source I love: Nichols Garden Nursery


Here's some good info. on cucumber bitterness.

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