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Lettuce Table: Round Two

We do not give up. We try new things (blindly). And we re-try things we’ve previously declared an epic fail. Such is my (our?) responsibility as the new gardener.

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In this case, I’m operating under the golden rule of “When first you don’t succeed,…throw money at it”. That’s a thing, right? Because the large lettuce table structure is entirely too large to sit empty in my yard. Leaving it there taunts me with it’s lack of growing and my lack of know how. I ripped out the meager fruits of round one. Then I pondered it for a week or so.

There are lots of theories here: too wet, too dry, too much sun, not enough. I actually don’t think its any of that. In my fury of digging around to rip out stunted greens, my little trowel struck the bottom of the box. I left it stuck there for a minute. It didn’t look very deep. Hmmmmm.

I’m operating under the premiss that there wasn’t enough dirt. Not that the boxes themselves aren’t deep enough, but that all the lovely soil and goat poop I’d started with had compacted without my noticing, leaving those seedling a very shallow root bed. Maybe? Could be? I’ve got something to go on.

Enough to get me down to the nursery for a little purchase. An act which, despite the massive expansion of Ugly Garden this season, I haven’t done much of. Three varieties of summer lettuce starts ($10) and a couple big bags of help later…

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Consider those boxes amended. I sowed the other two with seeds from my stash: more summer lettuce and my most heat tolerant spinach varieties.

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The best part: Garden markers in the lettuce box reading ‘Drunken’ for Drunken Woman Frizzy Headed lettuce and ‘Continue’ for the Continuity variety. Drunken. Continue. Well, if you say so.

More than a week in, those precious starts are not dead.

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Not sure they’ve done much of anything else either, but not dead is good. After half a year of nursing along seeds, the insta-garden feeling that comes with putting in a few starts is pretty amazing. They are already bigger than anything I’ve actually grown in these boxes. Heck, they were bigger the day I put them in.

As I look at the new set-up I’m thinking I could add even MORE dirt to those boxes. Yeesh. Too late for the moment.

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We are back in the land of sprouts sprouting. Can’t bury those with ‘booster blend’.

Am I confident for a bumper crop of lettuce? Uh no. Adding starts into the mix accomplishes two things; Either I get a head start on the lettuce I’ve been without or I know its definitely the boxes, not somehow the act of growing froms seeds. That’s productive, and gives me a little more empirical evidence of which to base future attempts.

I leave you with two thoughts. I am completely open to suggestions on re-purposing a large metal framed large lettuce table. Other than Craig’s list. Part of my motivation for round two was definitely a ‘what the heck else am I going to do with it’ mentality. And finally, all is not lost.

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I can grow basil. Who knew? Even if there’s no salad on my horizon, the pesto prospects are looking better all the time.

What’s your current do-over project? In the garden or otherwise? And care to make a wager as to the success (or failure) of lettuce table 2.0?

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Comments

Crystal Wayward
Reply

I have more I-quit projects than do-overs. I’ve killed so much this year…

dogsordollars
Reply

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! I’ve had a few almost I quit moments. The basil being one of those.

Tracy
Reply

Garden do over for next year – a fence around the garden. How many ears of corn can the deer eat? How many tomatoes can the squirrels pick and then decide they don’t like? Ugh!!!
Congrats on the lettuce – I vote you nailed it this time.

dogsordollars
Reply

I’ve had the same squirrel problems, only with my strawberries (so far). Those wasteful little buggers!

Kaitlin Jenkins
Reply

I heard on the news today ‘Kansas Gardeners have given up this year’. Guess they forgot to ask me! ;D We’ve had almost a month straight with days over 100 degrees which is making things hard, but I’m still getting a meager crop. I’m banking on a fall garden to even things out this year. My lettuce has all given up due to the heat, so I’m replanting next week…wonder if I can find some starts somewhere…so lettuce is my start-over too.

Tracy
Reply

Kaitlin I too live in the midwest (Missouri) and even though the temps have been awful this has been my best garden ever (my 3rd year). Meager crops for sure but more than in the past.
I think I may try your idea of replanting the lettuce – thought it was too hot but makes sense that by the time it comes up hopefully we will have cooled down. Hot lettuce = bitter lettuce.

dogsordollars
Reply

We have just the opposite issue. Will there be enough sun to ripen my tomatoes? Will the the overnight temps be high enough to take down the cloches? Yet another reason, I should be able to grow some stinking lettuce!

Samantha
Reply

We’re having half success, half failures. We did a bit of everything to see how it would go and I know a few things I’m definitely not doing again – our turnips and radishes have root maggots – ewwww! And I’m definitely going to go the raised bed route instead of just having a garden dug out.

Erica / Northwest Edible Life
Reply

More root room is always good. How are those babies growing now? If they are more or less the same size, hit them with some fish emulsion adn side dress with a complete fertilizer. I use both those compost amendments too…I love G&B. I have like a pallet of it. But I find I need to lime it or it’s too acid and the ph ties up nutrition. I’m dealing with that in my own garden now….it’s always something….

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