Monday, October 12, 2015

Lettuce and late summer

I keep an informal crop notebook where, each month or so, I give a brief synopsis of what I've done in the raised beds and down in the pasture, where the orchard, vines and berries are. It can be helpful to see exactly what month you put in your lettuce or tomatoes last year, how it fared, as well as when you fertilized and what kind of bug pressure you faced. Notes are a good thing, and a good way to assess how things are going compared to years past on your property.

I consider it a gift to myself in the future, this written documentation of all my successes and failures, and it's all penned with an eye towards hopefully learning from my mistakes as I go along.

Notes to myself.

It's been helpful for every crop except my late summer/fall lettuce. This is my trickiest crop, because if you plant it too soon and it turns hot again, it bolts or turns sour quickly. Since it's much too hot to grow lettuce here in summer, I confess to being a bit anxious to have summer-type salads after a few months before the weather gets cold. So I plant early. Sometimes it works out. But the last couple of years it has not.

And because of this I find myself, for the third month running, attempting to plant lettuce that will last more than three weeks in the ground before bolting. The other issue with warm-weather lettuce is that it needs watering often -- sometimes three times a day when it's above 90 degrees, which its been most days for the last few weeks.  And about this time of year, I'm honestly kind of done with standing around outside in the heat of the day with the hose. I'm wanting Mother Nature to take over at that point with some much-needed rain. Hasn't happened yet, but you know Hope, like star thistle and other weeds, springs eternal.

Out with the old, in with the new.

So I have another set of transplants sitting out on the patio right now and all I can do is hope that the 90 degree temperatures will finally be forecasters are saying by the end of the week.

It can't come soon enough, I'm tellin' ya.


  1. Oh I'm sorry to hear about your weather! When is there a break?! The big story here is that we're on an El Niño pattern because we're dry. So maybe that'll mean rain soon for you? I hope so. Love your gardening journal! Especially the waste not/want not!

  2. Waste not/want not is important, because it helps me remember when I've bought stuff and also reminds me of things I can re-use. I'm sorry you're dry there! There are probably a lot of places that are not irrigated the way they are here, so that could be bad. Supposedly we are supposed to get a lot of rain this winter, but it's been so long since I've seen any significant rain I'm skeptical. Hope I'm wrong.