Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lettuce Success and Other Ramblings

Our lettuce experiment turned out to be a success. I was told by multiple people on gardening forums that you cannot grow non-bitter lettuce in the heat of the summer, even in the shade. I will concede the fact that this summer has been pretty mild as far as high temps are concerned, we will see what September brings. I have never been able to grow non-bitter lettuce in August before, but this shade grown lettuce is delicious!

The trick is to keep it watered and keep it out of direct sunlight. This area gets dappled sunlight in the morning and at the end of the day. Most of the day these beds lay under the shady protection of two massive oak trees. You have to harvest the lettuce very young so it doesn't go bitter.

We selected heat tolerant varieties for this experiment. Lettuce seed is so cheap you can sprinkle a handful of seed every time you harvest your lettuce. I want to put in more lettuce beds on the deck. At our consumption rates, these beds only supply about two salads each a week.

I have seen many of these spiders around this year, way more than I have seen since we bought the house around three years ago. I guess it is my fault for playing Barry White albums on repeat in the garage. This scary looking spider is in the orb-weaver family (Araneidae) and is called the Spined Micrathena (Micrathena gracilis). It is also known as the "CD spider" due to its habit of building webs that look like CD's hanging from trees in the woods. Despite its menacing appearance, it is completely harmless to humans. 

This species is called the "Eastern Needy Tomato Gobbler" (daralis complainiface). This garden pest will consume every ripe tomato in the garden if you do not take adequate steps to remove it. The most effective methods I have found are luring it away with dark chocolate or telling it there is a buy one get one free sale at Earth Fare. If the tomato gobbler ever feels threatened, it will sit down on the ground and cry. Be careful when approaching this creature, its bite has been known to hurt a little bit and it will try to get you to take it out for ice cream.


  1. I had good luck with lettuce this year too.

  2. Did you grow it in the shade? Are you still getting good lettuce? What zone are you in? I think people can grow lettuce all year round just by changing tactics.