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UpSo: December Lettuce

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UpSo: December Lettuce Empty UpSo: December Lettuce

Post  pattipan on 12/5/2010, 5:35 pm

Hello there Upper Southerners! Brrrr...it's cold outside here in the mountains of WV. We have snow on the ground and a little more coming tonight. The forecast is in the teens for the next few nights, so it is seems crazy to even think about gardening -- but I am! I still have lettuces and the oriental greens. I just picked this bowl of lettuces this past Friday. These are mini red and green Romaine lettuces and one leaf lettuce called Red Salad Bowl.

UpSo: December Lettuce Dec20110

I have not checked my broccolini plants for the last two days, but I think it is just too cold for the plants to even think about forming any significant buds. Four (out of eight) plants had little teeny heads just beginning to form. Last night I was sure I heard them saying to me, "That SFG lady is crazy if she thinks we're going to make buds when it's this cold!" Very Happy

I am not complaining though, because I am still eating home-grown lettuce in December! Even the neighbors are amazed! I've brought my pots of favorite herbs indoors, so if the lettuces succumb to the cold temps, I'll still have my herbs...and all the tomatoes I canned from this summer...Bonbon (mini buttercup type) and spaghetti squash.

I fixed one of my Bonbon squashes for Thanksgiving this year. It yielded about 4 cups+ of bright orange flesh. Oh my goodness, that is one of the best tasting squashes ever! Better than Butternut, if you can imagine that. This week I'm going make use of one of the spaghetti squashes.

So are you thinking about SFG'ing when it's cold outside? Tell me all about it!

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Post  pattipan on 12/9/2010, 12:26 pm

Hallelujah! 12 degrees last night and my lettuces and greens still liveth under my makeshift hoop houses. Even the broccolini is still alive, although the teeny buds are still teeny.

The only problem now is I hate to go out in the cold and pick it! Somehow, I'll suffer through it! hungry

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Post  happyfrog on 12/9/2010, 12:36 pm

man, you're just making me kick myself - i wish i had taken the time this fall to get stuff going - but time got away. . .

you and i are similar zones, too so i should be able to. ah well. next year.

you keep on sharing pics and i'll keep drooling and having little bouts of envy over your escarole and other yummies. . .

admit it. do you ever chuckle to yourself as you walk by the produce dept when you see the wilty, way overpriced lettuces? Smile
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Post  Furbalsmom on 12/9/2010, 8:02 pm

@pattipan wrote:Hallelujah! 12 degrees last night and my lettuces and greens still liveth under my makeshift hoop houses. Even the broccolini is still alive, although the teeny buds are still teeny.

The only problem now is I hate to go out in the cold and pick it! Somehow, I'll suffer through it! hungry

pattipan

Yeah for sturdy plants. I am so glad your hoop houses provided the protection you needed.
I still have three kinds of lettuce and a few broccoli and cauliflower plants, but the brassicas are so slow and small.
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Post  staf74 on 12/9/2010, 8:39 pm

admit it. do you ever chuckle to yourself as you walk by the produce dept when you see the wilty, way overpriced lettuces?

Hehe...guilty !!

UpSo: December Lettuce 100_2110

This box is still going strong too. Hooray for covers !
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Post  LaFee on 12/10/2010, 12:44 am

Staf, those are gorgeous! I wish my *summer* lettuces looked that good!
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Post  staf74 on 12/10/2010, 8:00 am

LaFee,

I have to admit that as you can see from the time stamp, this was a pic of my lettuce bed in October and not true "December Lettuce." BUT ....about a third of this box is still going like this though, just don't have a recent pic. The Romaines on the upper left shortly bolted and were replaced with seedlings I had started and the upper right Romaine squares now look like the ones on the upper left. The lighter green simpsons have bolted and gone (you can see them stretching up in that pic.) but those seedlings you can see in the lower left corner are more "black seeded simpsons" and are now of good harvestable size. Still have some red sail too.
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UpSo: December Lettuce Empty December salads

Post  ander217 on 12/10/2010, 10:09 pm

We had our second salad this week picked fresh from the garden. We only had one tiny leaf of lettuce that survived under a fennel plant, but as I posted previously on another thread we had plenty of arugula and Red Russian kale, along with a few celeriac leaves, mustard leaves, and fennel fronds. I picked everything I could find because with temps forecast into the low teens along with 35 mph winds, I doubt my unprotected beds and boxes will survive much longer. I had one tiny broccoli left and a few turnips, and they came to the house also. I left the collards. We still have fresh tomatoes ripening in the garage, too. Next year I hope to start a lettuce bed in late fall and give it some protection.

What varieties do you recommend, Staf, for fall planting?
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Post  staf74 on 12/11/2010, 7:36 pm

Hey Ander,

I followed Mel's advice for my first SFG and went mainly for transplants from my local Farmer's Exchange and not sure exactly if they had a specific variety name. They grow some heirlooms from seed and some others supplied by Bonnie. The "Red Sails" was awesome. Very slow to bolt, very heat resistant and prolific. My favorite by far. The Regular Paris Island Cos Romaine was awesome too (all transplants about 6 inches high when purchased and I went back every two weeks to stagger the crop). I also had good success with Black Seeded Simpson and Limestone Bibb both from seed (Botanical Interests). They also had a Red Mesclun mix called Valentine that had some beautiful green / red leaf types. I started them from seed a tad too late though and they took well but the cold temps slowed them down. I will try them again both next spring and fall.

Here is for sure my last pics of the true "December" lettuce bed Sad I have taken off the covers and Mondays temps will kill the SFG for the season.

UpSo: December Lettuce 100_2610

Closer look at the last remaining Romaine Squares....

UpSo: December Lettuce 100_2611

Tomorrow is my last harvest and all of this will be in special vegetable containers that prolongs crispness / freshness. I'm welling up just thinking about it..... Sad Sad Sad


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UpSo: December Lettuce Empty Job well done

Post  ander217 on 12/11/2010, 8:20 pm

You fought the good fight.
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Post  happyfrog on 12/11/2010, 8:23 pm

wow - those are GORGEOUS!!!

and yeah, i'd be a bit misty eyed as well....

farewell beautiful salad greens. . . you will be missed.
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Post  staf74 on 12/11/2010, 8:27 pm

Thanks guys... I went down swinging !!

(to steal a phrase that made me chuckle from Megan)
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Post  happyfrog on 12/11/2010, 8:33 pm

you know, reading your posts and looking at that luscious lettuce greens, i'm actually salivating at the thought of a salad right now - and that's not typical for me at bedtime. lol more likely i'd want a bowl of ice cream. .

but seriously, i'm about to go get a bowl of salad (i have romaine and escarole in fridge) and bring it to bed.

all because of your salad box. lol

and i'm DEFINITELY gonna have a cold frame going next year - no excuses from me are allowed. i hate having to pay premium prices for my romaine . . .
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Post  staf74 on 12/11/2010, 8:45 pm

Aww...shucks.....

"all because of your salad box"

Embarassed he blushes Embarassed

Want to give Kudos to PattiPan also. That bowl looked scrumptious !
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