It is one of the most exciting times in our South Florida garden when we can start harvesting in the fall! Our first ready-to-eat crops are lettuces and choys, as they grow so quickly after direct seeding into the beds. Now, we use the term “lettuces” very loosely – we mean a variety of leafy delicate greens that can be used in salads.
Our salad-mixture plantings typically include the following:
It’s important for lettuces to have fine, loose and thoroughly weeded soil to grow in. We direct-seed each of the above kinds in its own little section, adjacent to each other in the same bed. For these crops we use the scatter seeding method, putting the seeds in rather densely so we can harvest as described below. Lettuce seeds should not be covered with dirt when they are planted, as they need light in order to germinate. They should be kept well-watered.
Our garden members really enjoy picking fresh lettuces right out of the garden to take home for a salad (they might add a radish or two when they’re ready). Harvesting the loose-leaf lettuces is done by clipping the greens with scissors an inch or so above the roots, which allows regrowth that can also be harvested. About every six weeks, we dedicate space in a new bed to another set of these lettuce plantings. Luckily, they require less sunlight than many other types of crops we grow, so we are able to use more shaded areas of the garden for our lettuces.
A word about seeds:
Please see our post “Ordering Fall Seeds” for more info/tips on seed buying.
Well, it’s time to make a salad! Look for info in the future on our heading lettuces – though they do take a back seat to these wonderful and easy-to-grow loose-leaf “lettuces” described here.