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

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