Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lettuce watch, two

Snow thyme!
The wind is still blowing strong, but not roaring as loudly as it did last night. I don't hear the plastic rattling on the lettuce tunnels. The low last night hit 10 degrees Fahrenheit, but beneath the blanket inside the plastic tunnel it got no lower than 27 degrees. Lettuce can handle that.

Right now, about 1 p.m., it is sunny and 29 degrees. Inside the tunnel it is a toasty 50 degrees. The light snow that fell last night is still on the ground, although it is melting a bit where the sun hits the concrete on the porch.

They have revised the forecast downward, with a low of 0 degrees F tonight and 9 tomorrow night. Perhaps with a lighter wind I will be able to put the sheets over the tunnels and hold in the heat better.

Last night, at about 9, we noticed that one side of one of the lettuce tunnels had pulled loose. So we pulled on boots and coats again and put it back in place. It was the only tunnel that I hadn't put clips on, so I clipped it.

Yesterday I started looking through catalogs for varieties of lettuce that will not become bitter in summer heat and/or will stand up to cold. A bibb/romaine type called "Winter Density" looks promising as a winter crop. A heading type called "Summertime" seems like a good hot weather choice. Many other varieties will offer their own summer/winter/spring advantages.

The number of varieties of lettuce is astounding. Only the number of tomato and squash varieties rival it. Many are quite lovely to look  at. I will no doubt buy a dozen or more varieties of lettuce seed for the coming year. This isn't just about salad anymore, this is a scientific/gardening endeavor and adventure.

So this is the year I will become obsessed with lettuce. I have done it before with various types of veggies -- squash, tomatoes, beans -- and so on. I learn a lot, but the most important thing is that I find it exciting. We all seek our thrills in different ways. This is mine.
Winter gardening, my idea of adventure!

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