Sunday 13 April 2014

Planting Lettuce seedlings

As you know, I have committed to making a better job of successional sowing this year, and I'm intending to try to keep us adequately stocked with salad ingredients throughout the Summer, so my first batch of lettuce seedlings have gone in the ground now. They were sown in small pots on 22nd February, thinned-out to one per pot and kept under cover in a mini greenhouse until a week or so ago. Over the last few days I have been hardening them off (gradually acclimatising them to outdoor conditions), and now they are planted-up in one of the raised beds:

Notice that there are only 8 of them (the plants along the edge of the bed are Parsley). If I sow little and often, I will hopefully have a continuous supply! (Although Sod's Law says they will all grow at different rates...)

These lettuces are from Sarah Raven's Best Winter Lettuce mixture - kindly provided for me to review. The mix includes three types. This first one is "Marvel of Four Seasons", which has bright green leaves liberally splashed with red.

This one is "Can Can" which has frilly green leaves with serrated edges.

And then there is "Green Oak Leaf", a well-known variety ideally suited to the "cut and come again" method of harvesting.

I have given each lettuce the protection of a small dome cloche. These are some of those I bought the other day from They are perfect for this task. I also sprinkled a few slug pellets around the cloches. With such a small number of lettuces on the go, I can't afford to lose any!

Here is the next batch coming on. Actually, these are endives, not lettuces, but they will go in alongside the lettuces nonetheless. In a few days time I will thin them to one plant per pot, and let them grow on for another couple of weeks before transplanting them.

The day on which I planted out those lettuce seedlings was dull and rainy, but reasonably still, so I took the opportunity to temporarily remove the cloches over my Broad Beans and their attendant Radishes. This serves two purposes: first, it allows the plants to have a good drink from the rain. And second, it allows the beans to harden-up a little. If they are kept under the cloches all the time they may get very soft. At some stage they will become too tall to fit under the cloches, and when that time comes I would like them to be ready to fend for themselves.

The two inner rows are the Broad Beans, and the two outer rows are the Radishes.

P.S. I saw a pair of Greenfinches yesterday. Although not rare, these birds are seldom seen in my garden, so I was pleased to be able to photograph them. I was standing at the window when they arrived, and I had to VERY slowly go and get my camera, so that I wouldn't scare them away. As it was, by the time I got back with the camera one of the birds had flown away - and the other steadfastly refuse to look towards me! These photos are taken with the new camera, which seems to cope pretty well with the glass of the window between it and the subject.


  1. I'm hoping that when we get sorted the Woodblocx bed will make a good salad bed, Did you use the through the glass setting on your camera. We used to have more greenfinches that we do now . I think they were a species that suffered most with finch disease, We do hear them about though even if we don't see many. The back view does capture his colouring though.

  2. Hi, I just came over from Daphne"s Dandelions. I look forward to viewing your past posts. What growing zone are you in? I'll be in the garden planting lettuce today. I hope here in zone 7 it's not too early.
    To plant a garden is to believe in the future

    1. Hi Louise; here in the UK we don't really do that "Zones" thing, because our climate is very localised, but I appear to be in a Zone 8 area. Our place is about 35 miles South of London, but out in the countryside it gets a lot colder than it does in the city.

  3. Your lettuce looks a lot like mine does right now. And like you, I have plans to keep the lettuce coming for a long time. It usually bolts in the summer, but somehow the farmers keep a steady supply up.


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