Home Grown Salad – Seed To Fork

Lettuce is fast growing cool weather crop that quickly reaches maturity. It is a cool season plant best grown in the spring and fall of the year in most of the U.S. With so many loose leaf and head varieties your most difficult decision is which varieties to plant.

First plant the cold tolerant lettuce varieties in the cool early spring months, then sow the heat tolerant varieties in late spring to spread out your lettuce harvest as long as possible. Stage plant lettuce, planting pots and beds every 7 to 10 days.
Lettuce benefits from a rich well drained soil.
Fertilize lettuce using a nigh nitrogen based fertilizer, something like 10-5-5.

Hint Lettuce seed require exposure to sun light to germinate.
Sprinkle seeds on top of the soil, and lightly cover or scratch them into the bed just below the surface of the soil. It is helpful to cover pots and beds with clear plastic to prevent your soil from drying out before your lettuce seed germinate. For best performance, Lettuce must be kept moist, Not Wet, throughout its growing season.

Harvest Lettuce at any stage of growth, small, young plants are tender with a delicate flavor.

Some proven and reliable Lettuce varieties are listed for your consideration.

Cold-Weather Lettuce
Arctic King (green, semiheading)
Brune d’Hiver (green, semiheading)
Rouge d’Hiver (red, romaine type)
Winter Marvel (green, semiheading)

Cool-Weather Lettuce
Buttercrunch (green, semiheading)
Four Seasons (red and green, semiheading)
Lolla Rossa (red, leaf lettuce)
Royal Oakleaf (green, leaf lettuce)
Tom Thumb (green, semiheading)

Heat-Tolerant Lettuce
Black Seeded Simpson (green, leaf lettuce)
Craquerelle du Midi (green, romaine type)
Red Riding Hood (red, semiheading)
Two Star (green, leaf lettuce)

Kale is a hardy, cool season green that is part of the ‘cole’ cabbage family. It grows best in the spring and fall and can tolerate frosts. Kale is rich in minerals and vitamins A and C.

You can plant kale anytime from early spring to early summer. If you plant kale late in the summer you can harvest it from Fall until the ground freezes in Winter.

Spinach has similar growing conditions and requirements as lettuce, it is nutritious and can be eaten raw or cooked. Spinach is high in iron, calcium, vitamins and is a excellent source of vitamin A, B, and C.

Plant seeds when your soil temperature is 40%F to 75%F. Seeds may fail to germinate in warm soils. Plant seed 1/2 to 1 inch deep and 2 inch apart cover lightly with soil. After germination, thin plants 4 to 6 inches apart. Keep your seed bed damp ‘Not Wet’ to speed germination.

Swiss Chard Plant in full sun or particular shade. Chard prefers full sun early in the season, part shade in summer when it’s warm. Chars will Tolerate moderate frosts, but don’t plant in very early spring. Seed Germinates when your soil reaches 40%F to 95%F, but is best around 70%F.

Chard likes well drained moist (Not Wet) soil. It prefers deep, loose, fertile soil, high in organic matter, with pH 6.0 to 7.0. Needs consistent moisture, especially as plants grow large.
Chard will benefit from a mid season fertilization using a N-P-K of something like 10-5-5.

Beets like full sun and will handle light shade. Beets are not heavy feeders and tolerates low fertility soils. Plant beets in well drained loam to silt loam soil, high in organic matter. Beets tolerate low fertility and light frost but require consistent moisture.

Beet seed Germinates from about 40%F to 85%F but around 50%F is a good soil planting temperature. Seed will begin to emerge in 5 to 8 days. Don’t panic it may take two to three weeks in cooler soils.

Temperature, it’s all about the soil temperature.
Soil temperature is almost never to warm, however, soils that are to cool and damp at worst can cause your seed to rot in the ground and at best take many days to germinate. Seedling in cool soil grow slowly and often do not develop into healthy productive plants.

vegetable seed germination chart

herb seed germination chart

Words of wisdom: Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day. Harry S Truman

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13 responses to “Home Grown Salad – Seed To Fork

  1. Pingback: Planning an Ozark Homestead

  2. I feel inspired after reading this. Yesterday I was harvesting lettuce seed from lettuce that had bolted in the heat. Its also too hot here at the mo to sow leafy greens, the bugs will come. In Autumn I hope to plant lettuce, I’ve never had much luck with them- maybe this will be my year of lettuce…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for your always valuable and appreciated information.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Soon it will be time!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great information, it is time to check the seed supply and catalogues!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Here in Bulgaria we let the last autumn lettuce re seed themselves, we then replant the lettuce seedlings to where we want them to be, cover in plastic and forget about them as they get buried under the snow then harvest an early spring crop for us and a pleasant treat for the rabbits, chickens, ducks and geese

    Liked by 1 person

    • For me this has been a very unusual winter. I have had many rain days and my chicken pen looks more like a pig pen.
      The chickens are wading around in standing water and lots of mud on their feet.
      But in the long term rain is never a bad thing in my little corner of usually dry or near drought winter weather.

      Happy Gardening

      Like

      • Ours has been the constant cold from November, keeping the rabbits and birds warm has been a challenge, averaging @ – 15 C every night at present and never above freezing during the day but thankfully only a foot of snow on the ground so far, seems a long winter this year.

        Take care

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Chard is vastly underrated! One of my favourite vegetables. I have a picking in the ground awaiting attention. Thanks for reminding me.

    Liked by 2 people

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