Lettuces in November

I’ve been really pleased with my lettuces this Spring.  I grow lettuces all year round but they seem to grow quickest in spring.

I sow loose leaf lettuce seed on a monthly basis.  I sow it in seed trays then pot the seedlings up into herb pots.  I plant them out into gaps in my beds when the plants are reasonably mature.  Doing it this way means that they only occupy space in the beds for a couple of weeks before I can start to harvest leaves from them.

On average a lettuce plant seems to last for a couple of months before bolting.  It depends a bit on season and position in the garden but I find if I plan on a two month productive life span I have a cosntant supply of leaves.

In my garden at the moment are:

  • Salad Bowl – both red and green.
  • Oakleaf
  • Freckles
  • Cos

and quite a few unidentified plants that are either from unlabelled saved seed or lettuce seed mixes.

I have to say I am a big fan of growing lettuces and they are certainly pretty in the garden.  I just wish the kids were as big a fan of them as I am.  Shame the plants that I find easiest to be self sufficient in are also the ones they are least inclined to eat…

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33 Responses to Lettuces in November

  1. Do you have any that seem to spring up having sown themselves? Love the look of the deep red one.

    • Liz says:

      For some reason they don’t self seed very easily for me. Having said that I am hoping that my current batch will – I’ve left a lot in to see if they do.

  2. Oh kids can be annoying. Mine actually like picking & eating lettuce from the garden for salad or their lunches. I haven’t been growing it in seed trays and then transplanting though. I’ve just been scattering seed in spots where I want lettuce. It’s probably a good idea to do your trick and fill the gaps.

    • Liz says:

      I’ve left a lot of plants in this year to go to seed in the hope that they will scatter themselves. If they do maybe i can move them in to the gaps.

  3. Daphne says:

    I used to grow seedlings regularly. I like that you can knock off a lot in their growing time. But I never potted up. Just a soil block and then in three weeks they went into the garden.

    • Liz says:

      i find them still a bit small at that point to cope with the blackbirds. Having said that I do plant out from seed trays at times when I can be bothered keeping an eye on them.

  4. Katie says:

    That’s so true about garden plants vs. family preferences. I couldn’t get anyone to eat the pretty chard I grew last year. It did really well for me too. I bet when your kids are a little older, they’ll love the lettuce.

    • Liz says:

      Mine are good with chard provided I hide it and make it unrecognisable – I find that the easier something is to grow the less likely the family is to eat it. EG zucchini, lettuce, radishes, broccoli and chillies all grow really well for me and all are rejected by at least one or more family member. Arrrgh….

  5. Jody says:

    I wish we were so successful with lettuce. We’re able to grow plenty of it, but there are times in the year when we have to go without. Belle would love it, if I could have your success.

  6. Patsy says:

    I love the look of your fresh lettuce! I’ve really only gotten it well in the spring; still working on how to have nice non-bitter lettuce in the summer and large enough lettuces in the fall.

  7. Mark Willis says:

    I’m a great fan of lettuce too, if only because there are so many different ones available. I have to admit that I learned to like it in a very bizarre way: at school (for some indefinable reason) someone showed me how nice it is with honey. Yes, honey. We used to have lettuce-and-honey sandwiches! I don’t eat them now, but it still sounds nice to me. Maybe you should get your kids to try it?

    • Liz says:

      Thanks Mark – i do like the idea of trying this on the kids, although I’m not sure i’m dying to eat it myself… Sounds odd but then a lot of yummy things do I guess.

  8. Sarah says:

    I was going to say that I encouraged my kids to eat more lettuce by getting them to invent their own salad dressing and shake it up in a jam jar. But I’m now thinking that the lettuce and honey idea is much better!

    • Liz says:

      My daughter loves making salad dressing and liking it off lettuce leaves – I suspect she’d do the same with honey but it is definitely worth a go.

  9. Michelle says:

    I try to keep a supply of lettuce growing in the garden, but more often than not things don’t turn out as planned. Like the last trays of seedlings that got munched by voracious caterpillers. And the tray that got too thirsty. Oops. At least I don’t need to deal with fussy eaters. 🙂 oh wait, I forgot, my husband prefers green lettuce. But he’ll eat whatever I serve him, I just have to listen to his comments about it.

    • Liz says:

      Sounds a lot like my partner, he wont whinge per se but he will look disappointed and play with his food a lot when werved too many green things….

  10. My kids are not big fans of lettuce either, but we have this “rule”: at dinner everyone has to eat a plate of salad before starting the main dish. It may not be the best way to feed your kids vegetables,but I had to force some nutrients into their bodies. …

    • Liz says:

      Mine are pretty good at vegetables as long as they are served raw and on plates while they are watching TV, as soon as we sit down to dinner Mr 3 ignores them completely (except for carrots – those he will happily eat anytime). Its really just lettuce and pumpkin they generally struggle with.

  11. Susanna says:

    I hear ya re the lettuce self sufficiency. I let three of them bolt and now have even more seeds… to myself. But they do look so pretty when they are young. Like the kids.

  12. Marisa says:

    Your lettuces look lovely, Liz (how’s that for alliteration!). I am also a big fan of lettuce-growing since I started planting my own earlier this year. They grow so fast and look beautiful and fresh. As for children – my son is an enthusiastic salad-eater. He prefers iceberg, but I haven’t tried growing those so he’s had to be content with cos and mixed salad leaves. For those trying to get kids to eat lettuce, try it wrapped around a spring roll!

    • Liz says:

      Ah yes – the spring roll trick. Miss 6 will definitely eats it that way, the only trouble being I struggle growing iceberg which i think works best. Mr 3 has his good and bad days but it usually involves a lot of licked leaves.

  13. Louise says:

    Your lettuce are so pretty and glossy, I too love them in the patch. They are agonisingly slow to get to a decent size from seeds aren’t they?

  14. Nina says:

    I’ve been a bit slack with succession sowing – must get on to that! I’ve just planted out my last punnet but I notice there are other lettuce popping up from last year so they should tide me over until I get more organised. I’ve got that lovely dark one, too. Fabulous colour, isn’t it?

  15. Barbara Good says:

    Oh I can’t get a lettuce leaf past the lips of either of my kids either… except if it’s in a taco! I must say I’ve been struggling with lettuce growing recently. I used to have cos growing wild in one section of the garden, I’d let one go to seed and then crush the pods and scatter the seeds around in the same area to get new ones growing. But for some reason the last lot didn’t come up and now I have no more. I sowed some in seed trays, but they didn’t get beyond the tiny seedling stage, I’ve just planted them out and have been keeping a close eye on them, plenty of water etc (boy I wish we would get some rain), so I hope they get going soon. I also scattered (or more to the point Miss Three scattered) a packet of mixed salad greens around the base of a tomato in a pot, which are going really well, but all the seeds ended up in half the pot and really close to the tomato so it will be interesting to see how they go. I think I’ll be able to start picking them soon and the mix does look interesting.

    I’m going to try your trick of seed trays, then pots, then the gaps in the garden. I hope I have your success.

    • Liz says:

      I hope you do too. I do occasionally get batches of lettuce seed that doesn’t seem to be fertile – not sure why as most of it is good and germinates easily.

  16. Phillip Stewart says:

    I can really only grow the green lettuces. The red ones suffer too much from the heat. I assume its because the dark leaves absorb more sunlight. Those that survive very quickly run to seed. Either way they just don’t cope as well as the green leafed varieties. All my lettuce are self sown either direct from their “parents” or returned via the compost heap. I do like the surprise element associated with this approach even at the expense of a regular supply. Anyway something else always turns up.

    • Liz says:

      Fab technique. I haven’t noticed a difference in performance of my red varieties but then I haven’t neccessarily been looking for it. i will keep an eye out now though. I have a number of salad bowl red in the garden at the moment and they seem to be coping ok with the above 30C days but they are still pretty young.

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