Lettuce in East Texas in 100 deg F weather?


Meadowlark

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I had completely given up on growing our own garden lettuce here in East Texas after several failed attempts to do so.... that has all changed since I started using the Hügelkultur containers.

I have had miserable results with lettuce in the past here. It's just too hot and humid and by the time it starts to cool down in the fall a frost is only days/weeks away. In spring, it gets too hot too quickly and lettuce simply bolts. So, I thought it was just a lost cause...until I came up with Hügelkultur containers.

In early August this year, I started seven different types of green leafy veggies from seed...each type planted both in a HK container and in the ground for comparison.

The lettuce types: 1) buttercrunch 2) sylyestra 3) green ice 4) little gem, 5) and romaine. In addition, I started Malabar spinach and Swiss chard from seed also both planted in HK and in ground.

The results have been stunning for me. The weather since seed start has been terrible for cool weather plants averaging above 95 deg highs and 75 deg. F lows....and those planted in the ground showed it with poor germination and very limited growth. However, the HK container plants have absolutely flourished. An Astounding result to me.

The HK lettuce plants have not only survived but they are outproducing the in-ground plants ranging from 5 times as much down to about 3 times as much. Consistently, each of the 5 lettuce varieties and the Malabar spinach and Swiss chard have completely outproduced the in ground to this point.

It will be interesting to see, now that cool weather is arriving, how the production continues.... but a shocking result thus far and one I did not expect, nor do I understand.

Buttercrunch and sylestra:

buttercrunch sylestra 9 25.JPG


Green ice:

green ice 9 25.JPG


Little gem and romaine

little gem romaine 9 25.JPG



If I hadn't done this experiment with HK containers, I would never have tried to grow lettuce again here...and would have missed out on this spectacular blessing. Lettuce grown in HK containers will be an integral part of my fall gardens in the future and I'll also give them a run next spring.
 
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My experience is about the same as yours. I stopped trying to grow lettuce in the ground about 8-10 years ago for the reasons you mentioned. So, instead of wasting space in my garden I planted a few in containers with the same results you are getting. At that time I just used the soil dug straight out of my garden. For the past few years I have been mixing potting soil 50/50 with garden soil with excellent results. The hot weather does make my plants bolt faster but I cannot figure out why they grow better in a container. Even when I put a lot of compost into the soil in my garden the containerized plants still grow bigger and faster. I have just planted another batch of lettuce seeds and I planted a bunch of left over beet seeds, all in Hk containers. As soon as my brocolli and cauliflower seedlings are big enough I will plant them both in the ground and in HK containers. Remember the big freeze 2 years ago. I had 22 chard plants in 8 inch containers. None were damaged at all but I did cover them with NSulate. It got down to 5F and stayed below 12F for more than 40 hours. I have found that NSulate on lettuce protects them down to about 22F
 

Meadowlark

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My experience is about the same as yours. I stopped trying to grow lettuce in the ground about 8-10 years ago for the reasons you mentioned. So, instead of wasting space in my garden I planted a few in containers with the same results you are getting. ...
Good to have confirmation....but better to experience this wonderful blessing. My wife is ecstatic about the lettuce.


...As soon as my brocolli and cauliflower seedlings are big enough I will plant them both in the ground and in HK containers.
I started cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels in HK containers in early Aug. Stunning. I expected not much instead they are at least double, maybe triple, the same plants in-ground started at the same time.

As you can see, the cabbage has overfilled the HK container and the broccoli will soon do the same. Spectacular!

Two cabbage plants are one to many, LOL.

cabbage hk 9 25.JPG



The broccoli hasn't started to head yet, but it has incredible foliage. Again, two is one too many:

brocolli hk 9 25.JPG


Cauliflower I started a little later 8-26 and learned to only grow one plant per container and it is looking great!


cauliflower hk 9 25.JPG
 
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Hi-

This is my first time trying lettuce - I'm in Shreveport, Louisiana, not far from the original poster. I planted seeds in two raised gardens 2 weeks ago, but they aren't sprouting at all. Do I just need to be more patient?
 
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Hi-

This is my first time trying lettuce - I'm in Shreveport, Louisiana, not far from the original poster. I planted seeds in two raised gardens 2 weeks ago, but they aren't sprouting at all. Do I just need to be more patient?

Depends on which kind of lettuce. I usually grow Black Seeded Simpson (leaf lettuce) and it sprouts in 4-9 days (warm weather-cool weather). Did you plant them too deep?
 
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Meadowlark

Gardner, Angler, Adjunct Professor, and Rancher
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Hi-

This is my first time trying lettuce - I'm in Shreveport, Louisiana, not far from the original poster. I planted seeds in two raised gardens 2 weeks ago, but they aren't sprouting at all. Do I just need to be more patient?

Lettuce seeds are a little like carrots in that they are small and light and difficult to keep moist. If you don't keep them moist 24/7 while planted, they won't germinate. In the dry weather we've been having that can mean watering them three times a day at least. They might still germinate but it's doubtful.
 
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