Lettuce in June

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa).

I know one thing for sure. Don’t plant old pelleted seed. I’m thinking don’t plant old seed, pelleted or unpelleted. Penny wise and pound foolish, as the saying goes.

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Bambi, a bibb lettuce, and Nancy, a butterhead lettuce, were planted with the peas on April 11. Nancy was a no-show. Bambi is doing OK, as can be seen in the June 15 photo above. Came up better than the peas did. I thinned the romaine heads and now hope to use this lettuce as a cut-and-come-again crop.

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Bambi bibb lettuce planted May 6 also came up well in a row sharing a raised bed with onions and radishes, as can be seen in the photo above, also taken June 15. Again, the Nancy butterhead was a no-show. I will thin this Bambi lettuce more with the next harvest, and then move to cut-and-come-again, which is my goal with all the head lettuce. This is Charles Dowding’s strategy in Salad Leaves for All Seasons. I sang in praise of Dowding’s lettuce philosophy in the post Lettuce.

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Crispino, an iceberg lettuce, was planted on May 6 and came up sparsely. Crispino is one of my favorites, perhaps because I’m secretly nostalgic for the iceberg lettuce that wes the only lettuce available in grocery stores back in the day. I would never buy iceberg lettuce today, but I love Crispino. So great to stick a leaf of Crispino into a sandwich. Also good as a bed for tunafish salad or whatever. Germination was not good on the Crispino. What did come up is doing OK, as can be seen in the photo above. Will plant again for sure–with fresh seed.

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Concept, a summer crisp lettuce, according to Johnny’s Selected Seeds catalog, was also planted on May 6 and came up sparsely as well. While Bambi and Crispino have distinctive looks and flavors, Concept seems nondescript to me. I won’t order it again. Wait a minute. Now that I think of it, Concept was my only leaf lettuce, baby leaf at that. I prefer heart, or head, lettuce, so Concept is out.

Some of the lettuce varieties discussed in the post Lettuce, are for fall planting. I won’t mess with the old seed but will rethink the fall planting. I should order only 1 or at most 2 varieties for fall. Just as with the spinach, I need to keep lettuce growing simple.

I recently ordered and received from Johnny’s some unpelleted seed for 1 midseason lettuce, Helvius, a romaine with heavy dense hearts. We received 1.25″ of rain yesterday, June 14. Also a heavy thunderstorm this afternoon, June 15, which is wonderful and much needed. As soon as I’m able to get back into the vegetable garden, I will prepare a new lettuce bed for the Helvius romaine, and we’ll see what happens with new seed.

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