June 19, 2015

Too Hot For Lettuce

Homegrown lunch: lettuces, kale, radish, goat cheese, & hard-boiled
eggs. I find the variety Jericho lasts longer in hot weather than the others.

With our string of days in the upper 90s F (upper 30s C), it is simply too hot for garden lettuce. I'm always sad to see it come to an end, but eventually it becomes too bitter to be palatable and bolts.

Lettuces, kale, chopped leftover baked potato, & cold canned green
beans. My indulgence is store bought Ranch dressing and sunflower seeds. 

As admirable as our long growing season is, the sad fact is that my lettuce is long gone by the time tomatoes ripen. That means no homegrown BLTs or Marshall Field's Specials. I end up having to buy either tomatoes or lettuce.

Lettuces, kale, hard-boiled eggs, grated radish, fresh garden peas.

Such is life, eh?

28 comments:

  1. If you like spinach as a substitute, try New Zealand spinach. It likes hot weather and is firmer than regular spinach.

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    1. I will definitely have to do that. I have lambs quarter growing, so we use that instead of lettuce, but it gets too big as the summer progresses. Love those greens. :)

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  2. Basil, tomato, bacon, and avocado sandwiches - yum.

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    1. Yum indeed! I love avocado on anything and hadn't thought of basil. Good idea, thanks!

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  3. Oh boy, those look good! Do you think its possible to grow lettuce in a shady part of the garden during summer? I find I never get anything to grow in line with tomatoes, as they just love the heat, which other veg don't really appreciate.

    Some of the Asian varieties of leafy vegetables, are more heat tolerant though. Maybe you could trial some, to see how they perform in your climate?

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    1. The only Asian veggie I've experimented with is Pak Choy, which seems to bolt extremely quickly. I'm thinking I should try it in the fall. I'll have to take a look at the other Asian offerings.

      Dani at Eco Footprint ~ South Africa uses netting to shade her lettuce with good results, although I'm not sure of her heat tolerances even then. It's something I've meant to try.

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  4. Have you ever tried lettuce in the shade of something? We are enjoying arugula, baby lettuce and baby swiss chard here. I toss in some chiffonade of lemon balm into the salad bowl for a surprise here and there. My lamb's quarter is functioning as a trap crop for the leaf miners this year, so YEA! I like a weed with a purpose. I am about ready to start sautéing the good leaves because I have WAY too much of it. I have all of the above sprouting out of every crack on the property.

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    1. Barb, see my reply to Chris. I did find that the lettuce that was shaded by radish leaves remained sweeter longer, so I think the shade would be an excellent way to go. I'll definitely have to try a Swiss chard salad. We're still harvesting kale too (which we love sautéed with onions and garlic in rendered goat fat). :)

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  5. Leigh, the same heat that is plaguing you is making life tough up here in the mountains. The animals are all laying low in the shade during the day, and I'm staying inside as much as I can. Maybe we will get some cooler, drier air here in Georgia before long.

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    1. Harry, I think about you in this heat, wondering if it's any cooler farther up the mountain. Wooded areas provide shade but also block breezes! Our woods is the hottest place in summer. I'm with you in hoping for some of that cooler, drier air.

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  6. Leigh,

    We have the same problem. Last year I grew various leaf lettuces inside under a growing lamp. Arugula does well in our raised beds in a fairly shady spot here in the city. Which reminds me that I need to plant some more.

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    1. I definitely need to explore heat tolerant greens we can eat raw. I miss my salads!

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  7. I still need to get my lettuce in the ground. I am hoping that all the trees around the old garden will keep it cool enough for the greens.

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    1. Funny how my lettuce is at its end and yours has yet to begin. The joys of gardening!

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  8. I have been using beet greens for salad with swiss chard that is shaded by radishes gone or going to seed. I love your varied salads. I have been able to add dried blue berries from last year for a tang. I make a simple dressing with vinegar, Evo and basil.

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    1. The blueberries and basil sound like a lovely addition. I really need to work on making own dressings. Dan likes his balsamic vinegar and olive oil, but I love the buttermilk based ones.

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  9. I love the early summer garden season when we can have plates of this and that from the garden all thrown together. I don't seem to miss it (like I do morels) in the depths of winter but when we've got it like we do now, I absolutely crave things like that for dinner.

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    1. Oh yes, I know all about those cravings. It's a shame the lettuce has to end just when a cold lunch or supper would be just the thing.

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  10. Leigh,

    My lettuce grew wonderfully in the beginning of spring. Then the storms rolled in and destroyed all of my lettuce garden beds. I've since replanted, the lettuce is growing slowly.......and now it's heating up here. I'm hoping for some lettuce to grow full term for summer salads. I've planted a Michigan variety of lettuce from what I understand it's suppose to like heat. I don't have any proof of that yet.....we shall see.

    Your salads look great!!! Summertime is just too darn hot for cooking heavy hot meals. The lighter the better on meals for us in the summer time too. We've been doing a lot of juicing vegetables and or fruits for meals to get through the hot days.

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    1. Sandy, your storms were a terrible thing. So much damage. I like the idea of juicing for hot weather meals. Our favorite is smoothies!

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  11. Once again, the different climates and temperatures we all have to learn to garden in! Last night our low was 41 degrees F and our "hot" days so far are only up into the 70s.

    Do you have any constructed raised beds, Leigh? If so and you can plant your lettuce in there, make a simple wood frame to lay on top of the bed frame with shade cloth stapled to the flat frame. The shade cloth really works to keep the lettuce "cool" and growing in a more favorable environment. Might be worth a try, but your salads shown in the post look plenty enticing to me with or without ample amounts of lettuce!

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    1. I have only one raised bed. :( It might be worth a go, however, especially for lettuce. Anything to extend my salad season!

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  12. My kale and collard green do well all summer. I massage kale with a 1 TBL olive oil and a little salt for 1 minute then add 2 TBL red wine vinegar, delish! Add some grapes and blue cheese and I'm in heaven:)

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    1. Oh my, that sounds really yummy, especially with the grapes and blue cheese. :)

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  13. We had our first completely homegrown meal this season this week as well. It was good! New potatoes, garlic scrapes and poached eggs! Lovely!
    Always tastes better when you've grown it all yourself!

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    1. It definitely tastes better when you've grown it yourself! Plus there's knowing it's truly nutritious and real! All good.

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  14. Hi! Don't you wish that lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers would all ripen at the same time! I still have some lettuce that is good but some on its way out as I pulled some out today and threw on the compost pile. I planted a little more today so hoping it will grow. Nancy

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    1. I very much wish that! We do love our cucumber and tomato salads though. Hopefully we'll be eating those soon. :) Here's hoping you have a good lettuce harvest.

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