Friday, October 31, 2008

October 31, 2008

Well, about all I can say about today is that I came home early to spend Halloween with the family.  We went trick or treating until tired meltdowns brought us home.  A very fun day all around. 

Thanks to the comments, it appears I missed the opportunity to plant more this fall/winter.  Next year I will plant more lettuce.  During the spring I planted one square of each variety and had more than I could use.  This fall, I planted one square and it's gone so slow and spindly, that I don't think I'll have nearly enough for a salald a week, let alone a salad a day.  Who knew?  Big mistake.  At least I planted tons of spinach.  And next year I'll plant more lettuce.

On a brighter note, when I planted my succession lettuce for January and February, I planted multiple seeds and most of them germinated.  I am definitely going to try to transplant them to vacant squares to grow more for the late winter.  I don't recall if lettuce transplants well, but I'm going to give it a try as soon as I see the first true leaves.  Of course since I haven't seen the plants in a week, it could be tomorrow.  I'm going to have to work fast and early tomorrow in order to get over to my folks place by 9.  Maybe I'll even snap a few pics tomorrow. 

Ah, the joys of 4 season gardening.  By the way, for my fall/winter reading I've put Four Season Harvest on hold at the library.  Hope you have more fun in the garden than I get to have tomorrow!

Enjoy your garden!


  1. Lettuce transplants very well. Unfortunately, unless the plants are already fairly mature by this point in time - you really are not going to get much from planting them. The day length is not only shortening - but the sun is further on the earth axis than during the spring/summer period and therefore the plants do not get sufficient sun energy AND warmth to grow much during the late fall/winter. The trick with fall/winter gardens is to plant things in mid to late summer and get them basically grown and at maturity - just as the days get cold and short. Then protect them from the harsh elements - so that you can harvest as needed. Once harvested though, there will be little to no growth to replenish as there just is not enough solar energy for that during the dark days of winter.

    Don't be discouraged though - it's a trick to get the timing right and each year is different. I did good this year on the third crop of broccoli and the first block of winter spinach - but was late about 2 weeks on the big winter spinach patch planting and it will be a miracle if I get much out of it as a result. que sera sera!

  2. Interesting. Steve Solomon said specifically that to have continuous winter harvest plant lettuce in early September and again in early October. If there's no sun to grow them, why would that give you continous winter harvest? I'm still holding out hope for it just being slow growth, not no growth. Otherwise I should have planted all my beds with lettuce. Definitely a learning period I think.

  3. It's tough to do winter gardening unless you have sufficient bed space that you can have summer harvest crops growing AND start the fall crops too.

    The other factor in all of this is how much sun exposure the bed has. A super sunny spot will still produce growth (with adequate cold protection) even in the winter months - but most of us have beds that get at least some shading during the daylight hours. Works okay in spring/summer - but is a serious disadvantage in winter.

  4. Hi:
    I transplanted my outside lettuce and brought it in to grow under artificial lights. Some of the seedlings I started at the beginning of the season grew pretty big, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I keep the lights on almost 24/7 (I forget to unplug them sometimes) and so far so good.

  5. The red leaf lettuce I brought inside and set in a plant (bay) window, under a fluorescent light, turned from red to green in just a few days. After our freezing nights warmed up again, I took them back outside and they turned back to red. They never did grow much, but I brought them south and I've had one cutting from them. Here, on the east side where it doesn't get terribly hot, they have perked up and are finally showing some growth.

    I planted some cucumber seeds in a really big pot on the south side, but even with watering the surface four times a day, the sun & heat keep drying the soil so they may have difficulty germinating. It's too heavy to move around the corner to a cooler spot :-(

  6. Don't feel bad Rich. I have a lot to learn about timing the fall planting as well. Oh, I highly recommend the Four Season Gardening book you have on hold.