Grow Greens Indoors Under Lights

heirloomgal

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Today I have several kinds of lettuce to move from my lights to outdoors, so I started a big tray of new varieties to take their place. Jester lettuce was number one on the list as it seems to be the fan favourite for summer. It is also the first 'Crisphead' lettuce that I had ever tried; at the time I recall being shocked that the leaves were cool and crunchy, even in really warm weather. This time I started the lettuce in 1 1/2" blocks with the hope that there will be no need to bump them up before planting them out in about 3 weeks time (or that if I have to move them to started pots it will be easy). I tried to tuck in two seeds per block, just in case one doesn't germinate. If all goes well we will be enjoying these greens in mid-August, right at the peak of salad season. 🥬
I have seldom met a lettuce that I didn't like, but I have found head lettuce aka 'icebergs' to be some of the longest lasting, top quality lettuces there are. But, trickier ones to get seeds from. Which other head lettuces have you tried? Favorites?
 

Branching Out

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I have seldom met a lettuce that I didn't like, but I have found head lettuce aka 'icebergs' to be some of the longest lasting, top quality lettuces there are. But, trickier ones to get seeds from. Which other head lettuces have you tried? Favorites?
My experience with head lettuce is very limited, however I am finding some interesting heading lettuce popping up in the seed mixes that I have purchased from Wild Garden Seed. Some in their 'Head Hunter Mix' even have purple flecks, similar to Jester. One that caught my eye this morning is the cutest little ruffled iceberg-type lettuce that has appeared in the garden. It is only about 6" across, yet with a well-defined solid core. Given its small size this variety could hold potential as a lettuce to grow indoors over the winter, so I hope the slugs will leave it alone so it can set seed-- which is definitely trickier than with leaf lettuce. Apparently iceberg lettuce sometimes needs assistance when it bolts, as the stalk can get caught under the thick layers of leaves have difficulty emerging. They recommend cutting an 'x' in the top of the head to facilitate this; I will try to do that.
 

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heirloomgal

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I have a little planter of Red Sails lettuce, it's still small though harvestable. Plucked some for soybean burgers yesterday and it was like leather! Blech! First time for that. Weather maybe?
 

heirloomgal

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Could be, I kept them pretty well watered but containers are always hotter than in ground. Never seen lettuce leaves turn so tough, but antho lettuces are a bit tougher naturally as well so that might be a factor.
 

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Could be, I kept them pretty well watered but containers are always hotter than in ground. Never seen lettuce leaves turn so tough, but antho lettuces are a bit tougher naturally as well so that might be a factor.
I had never thought about it until now, but I don't usually grow any of the deep red lettuce during the peak of the summer heat. Maybe its cold tolerance is balanced by a lack of heat tolerance??
 

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Way back in December I sowed some Mixed Mesclun Mustard Greens indoors under lights, from a package that I got from West Coast Seeds. They grew so incredibly quickly that before long I had to move them out to the deck, and then to a planter that is under cover near our front door. Flash forward six months, and that little pinch of mustard seeds has flowered and set a ton of seed. I will keep the seeds of each plant separate and grow them out to see what they are, as it became difficult to identify them once they bolted. Their leaves changed shape and colour, and they all kind of looked the same. Included in the mixture are two kinds of frilly chrysanthemums that I may even use as flowers next spring. These mustard greens were mild enough for salads when they were young, and good for stir fry or soups after that. I hope that I can provide some greens for the neighbourhood this winter by starting a whole bunch in September and growing them under cover, and also by growing them indoors under lights during the winter.
 

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digitS'

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I can't say too many good or bad things about mustard greens. They neither my favorite greens nor favorite brassicas.

Mustard is, however, a wonderfully easy plant to grow and should absolutely be in every garden, including mine! Now, I'll back-away from that a little -- unless your really dislike mustard greens ;).

Mostly, broccoli and bok choy inspired me to grow several different greens and to do my best to have them right through the growing season. Together, they are the dominant crop under the temporary hoop house that has gone up through Spring weeks for a couple of decades. Some brassica seed, of one sort or another, is saved most every year and I don't know what could be easier. Germination quality is maintain for several years but allowing a few mustard plants to mature, cutting the stems and giving the seed pods a couple more days off the plant, and the simple process of crushing the pods and winnowing -- success! You are all set for several more seasons.

Now, if I would just stop buying and learning to appreciate hybrid varieties of other brassicas!

Steve
 

heirloomgal

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I've made lettuce wraps before with a yummy mix of shrimp, veggies, and a good sauce! The lettuce spring rolls sound really good! What do you put in yours? What sauce do you have with them?
Thinly sliced red cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, green onion, sometimes mint/basil/cilantro. Baked tamari tofu & sesame seeds. I love the tahini soy sauce dressing best, but the peanut butter variation is really yummy too.
 

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