Growing Lettuce in the Early Spring

by updated 2010/04/11

The spring months of March, April, and May are great for growing lettuce.  Lettuce does not like really hot weather and seems to thrive in the medium length days of these months.  There are a couple of tricks to use if like me, you live in a climate that can have some very cold days and nights well into May.  First start your seedlings indoors or in a slapped together greenhouse like mine.  Second, when you transplant them outside anytime after March 1st, cover them with a floating row cover like Reemay. Third, make sure you have great soil. I make compost that I incorporate into the garden each spring. I also plant a cover crop in the fall which grows slowly until the days get longer in February. Then I dig the cover crop in as I plant in the spring. What looks like beautiful green grass in the middle photo below is actually winter wheat, planted late last October or early November.

In the first photo below you can see some of my seedlings as they started out a month or more ago.  In the next photo you can see what the plants looked like 3 weeks after transplanting outside under the cover.  I will plant lettuce every few weeks now through the summer.  By the time we get to June to September, I will not be using the Reemay, instead I have some shade cloth I use to protect the lettuce from the summer sun.  I also change varieties as the season progresses. In the last photo, you can see what many of my dinners these days include!  Soon a post to help you get the earliest tomatoes possible.  Anyone jealous?  ;-)

Will Sig
1 Tony McGurk

Mmmm… love home grow lettuce, we had a great crop this summer of all different varieties. We have so many bottles of pickled cucumbers, tomato relish & pickle, pasta sauce in the pantry that will see us right through the winter. Home veggie gardens are just so rewarding & definitely worth the effort.
.-= Tony´s last blog ..Welcoming Committee =-.

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2 Tony

Mmmm… love home grow lettuce, we had a great crop this summer of all different varieties. We have so many bottles of pickled cucumbers, tomato relish & pickle, pasta sauce in the pantry that will see us right through the winter. Home veggie gardens are just so rewarding & definitely worth the effort.
.-= Tony´s last blog ..Welcoming Committee =-.

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3 Anna

Anyone jealous? lol, I am. Wow Will you really have something to show off. BTW my bean made two beans, lol, all from water and sun energy. Anna :)
.-= Anna´s last blog ..Who Is The Artist? =-.

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4 Ruth

I would have loved to have lettuce in my window boxes but the only seeds I found when I was shopping for them were iceberg, yuck. I ended up getting spinach. And wouldn’t you know it, every night since I planted there have been frost warnings! I’ve been bringing the boxes inside at night.
.-= Ruth´s last blog ..Help End Hunger with The Dinner Garden =-.

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5 John Hunter

Very nice. I just planted lettuce for my first time this year, as you can see in the link below.
.-= John Hunter´s last blog ..Growing Lettuce in My Backyard =-.

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6 Will

Ruth – I though Iceberg lettuce was artificially produced. There are seeds?? I agree yuck. It does not even count as a vegetable. Your spinach should be ok with the frost once it sprouts. I am picking spinach that overwintered here and we had many nights in the teens.

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7 Will

Anna you reminded me that it is time to plant my first pole beans. I use the purple variety this time of year as it is more cold tolerant. I use a wall of water around them and they do germinate even now.

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8 sjef

“Hello. My name is Sjef. I am a Dutchman, 59 years old.
I started 2 identical web logs with “simple tips” about growing vegetables (many photos): http://sjeftuintips.web-log.nl/ (in Dutch, finished) and http://sjefgardentips.wordpress.com/ (in English, just started). Tip 14 is about sowing lettuce. Each week I sow 2 groups and cover the sowing place with a black flower pot. After about 10 days I remove the pots. When lettuce plants are bigger I pull out plants until there is 1 plant left per group. Those 2 plants grow to big heads.”

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9 Bill Brikiatis

Your lettuce looks really good. I like the way you inserted the PVC polls into the wood. Here in New Hampshire, we need a little more support because of the snow and wind in the winter.
Bill Brikiatis recently posted..Growing Cover CropMy Profile

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10 Will

We get some snow here too, but not so much that it causes trouble for the PVC. It is cold here though so really in the months of December through February, the only thing in the garden is Kale and Collards. I may try to use some heavy clear plastic this winter over a wood frame to see if I can trap enough warmth to grow lettuce right through the winter.

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