Gardening Friday-Lettuce in July?
In gardening, you learn by trial and error and luck.
Several years back when I didn’t know any better, I plunked my tomatoes in the ground midday. That’s a big no-no.
But I learned from my error and the next time I planted I grabbed a light/white sheet and placed it over the cages and my starts only experienced a little bit of wilting (compared to previous attempts without any cover).
So I got wise and bought some expensive dark green shade cloth and a roll of cheap burlap to use as cover when I transplant.
Burlap has several uses in the garden, providing cooling shade being the most obvious to me. However, it doesn’t last very long and it lets in more heat and light than *I* would prefer. But it does work and not all burlap is created equal. The tighter the weave, the more shade you’ll get.
That few yards of green shade cloth? Though it cost my 30 bucks, it’s still going 4? years later. I use it every time I transplant during morning. I’ll even lay it over some of the pepper plants when it gets into the high 90s and up (burlap or a light sheet works too).
But here’s where I got really lucky. Summer is a perfect time for salads. Unfortunately, lettuce doesn’t like 80+ degree temps– that’s when they get biter and bolt. Last year I took some of that over priced shade cloth plopped it over my wilting lettuce in late spring. And hey, it helped out. I can’t tell you how it all worked out because I went on vacation in mid July. These pictures were taken on July 7th.
This year, because of excessive amounts of moisture, I didn’t get lettuce seeds into my “salad bowl” (where I grow the various lettuces) until Memorial day(ish) . That means I planted in late May! I figured I didn’t have much to lose. The seeds took forever to germinate but eventually they sprouted and grew. Sssslllooooooowly. Then about a week ago, I plunked that shade cloth down over the lettuces and they have taken off. I just pulled some red and green leaf lettuces today to see if they’re bitter and they taste great. Especially the red leaf.
It’s July 1st in Salt Lake!
I should tell you that my salad bowl is shaded until 9:30-10 am but receives full, blistering sun until sunset. The few hours of cool morning shade might be helping the cause. Ican’t tell you what percentage of shade the cloth is, but I can tell you it’s dark green and I bought it from teh SprawlMarts (because it’s within bike riding distance).
I did a search to see what kind of success others have had doing this and turns out it works well.
Here are several reliable links: