Lettuce is one of the fastest and easiest to grow crops around. It can be grown in the garden, in containers and raised beds, or almost anywhere you can clear out a little space.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of varieties available - in a myriad of colors, textures, all with their own unique taste. In fact, for most that begin to grow their own lettuce - they are shocked to realize the amazing difference in taste from the generic varieties available in most super markets and grocery stores. Most "supermarket" lettuce, (like the familiar Iceburg head lettuce) are grown specifically for their ability to handle shipping and store well - not for taste. When you begin to grow your own - you might just find out that with all that flavor - salad dressing isn't even needed!
Lettuce can be divided into many categories - but most will agree on these main four : Butterhead (Bibb style lettuce) , Crisphead (Iceberg, etc.), Looseleaf (Cutting varieties) and Romaine style.
Lettuce in general prefers cooler weather - so you will want to plant a spring/early summer crop, with a second fall crop as well. The hot summer heat tends to wilt and bolt lettuce. The good news is that it's a quick grower, and can actually go from seed to table in as little as three to four weeks!
Preparing The Soil And Planting Lettuce:
Lettuce prefers loose, fertile, and well-drained soil. It will struggle to grow well in hard, clay-type soils. Prepare your beds by adding in lots of compost and organic matter. If your soil is on the clay-type side - you can also add a few shovel-fulls of sand to help loosen the soil structure and aid in drainage.
Lettuce can be planted with transplants or by directly sowing seed into the soil. We prefer planting most of ours by seed, mainly for the convenience, and for us, they have seemed to do better emerging from the soil than they have as transplants.
If your soil is fertile, lettuce will not require much additional care other than keeping it watered throughout dry periods. Lettuce, like most vegetable crops, should receive about 1" of water per week. If you do want to fertilize - an application of compost tea can be applied once the crops have emerged through the ground.
We use a fair amount of straw mulch around the plants to keep weeds to a minimum - weeds can wreak havoc on lettuce crops. Be sure to take care when weeding - lettuce roots are shallow and are easily pulled from the soil.
To help keep pests at bay - we like to plant a few of our hot pepper plants near our lettuce or directly in the middle of the lettuce bed. Garlic and onions are also known to have the same effect when planted near lettuce crops.
Harvesting Your Lettuce Crop:
Leaf lettuce can be harvested whenever the plants begin to become large enough to snip their tasty leaves. The beauty of leaf style lettuce is that you can get multiple cutting from the same planting - increasing your yields. Be aware though, that after the first few cuttings, the leaves will start to become a little less tender with each cutting. If left alone, leaf lettuce will usually reach their maximum size in about 50 to 55 days.
Most head lettuce varieties mature in 55 to 70 days - and it is important to harvest them before the summer heat begins to wilt their leaves and change their taste.
To store lettuce, wash, drip or spin dry, and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Lettuce keeps best right around 32°F.
Yo can visit out blog post below to see all about some of the varieties that we love to grow: http://oldworldgardenfarms.com/2013/05/14/gr...
This is just a simple little story about how I finally got all the grease off the cabinets above my stove.
I have had a dirty little secret!Everyone always tells me how clean my house is. It's not really. Not since I've had kids. You've seen those cute little signs, Excuse the mess, we are busy making memories or Excuse the mess, we live here? Well that's not really my style. In fact, my house is nothing like the clean it used to be before the kids. I've grown more accustomed to the mess, but so many little things tend to get over looked these days. Many people have exciting goals like running a marathon or skydiving (and I may have just become the biggest loser because I just googled Common goals people have, because I couldn't come up with 2 good ideas), you know what I've always wanted? To put my house on the market and have the ad say, "Mrs. Clean lives here". I'm not kidding, I actually told my realtor I wanted that on my add. She said, your house will sell itself. OK, she was right, but I really wanted that at the time. One thing I've been over-looking lately is my kitchen cabinets. I'm home cleaning today and thought, maybe today's the day to get that grease off the cabinets. Now keep in mind, these are just the cabinets over the stove, and grease is always building up on these cabinets. I wipe down my cabinets frequently, since they are white and show any dirt, but I do tend to "overlook" these top cabinets because I never could seem to get the grime off with much success. I have those god-awful therma-foil and for lack of a better term the surface is "pockey". That means there is a little texture that allows dirt and grease to accumulate. The picture shows best how greasy these cabinets were. I've tried many products before, but today I decided to go for some simple soft scrub and a warm dish rag. I love the lemon scent and use this for a lot of my cleaning. I poured it on my dishcloth and just rubbed it on the grease, and just like that, all of the grease and grime came off. I've tried many other cleaners and de-greasers and seriously never got such great results with barely any elbow grease at all. I might suggest if you are working over your head that you wear some protective eyewear, because trust me when I say, you don't want your break from cleaning to involve trying to get soap out of your eye! Just sayin. Check out the before and afters. It's really pretty amazing!