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Iceburg Lettuce from seed

Posted by texandana 8a (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 6, 12 at 20:26

Hi everyone!! I'm attempting to grow iceburg lettuce from seed. I'm in N. Tx and am told that its very difficult to grow this type of lettuce here. I wanted to see if there is anyone else here that has been successful at this. I have some pictures on my blog, the link is posted below. I would love to hear some opinions on this.

Here is a link that might be useful: Iceburg Lettuce


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Iceburg Lettuce from seed

It is difficult to grow iceberg most anywhere unless you are a commercial operation in one of the agri belts. It is a cool weather crop with a very long growing season so it usually bolts and turns bitter before heading.

It has issues with nutrition timing, heat tolerance, and spacing since it requires so much more room than most other leafy greens. So most plan on eating it at the leafy stage. Better yet, just grow one of the many different kinds of leaf lettuce. Much easier and much tastier. Iceberg is 90% water anyway.

Dave


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RE: Iceburg Lettuce from seed

I wouldn't know when to start it in a hot climate. I always grow leaf lettuce, but I had a neighbor who grew iceburg in Aurora, Colorado. When snow was on the ground and another snow was expected, he put seeds on top of the snow and let the new snow cover it. When I was planting my Spring garden, he was next door harvesting iceberg lettuce. He is the only one that I have ever know who grew it, and I find all other types taste so much better.


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RE: Iceburg Lettuce from seed

Growing iceburg down south can be a challenge. But once you learn what will work for your area, it's no harder than any other crop.

What works for me is to direct seed early in larger 4" pipe pots where the transplants can get much larger without disturbing the roots when planting.

Additional advantages are had from growing the potted plants cool on an outside shelf on a south facing concrete wall. The wall reflects extra light on the plants and retains daytime heat to protect against cold nights. Being on a shelf puts the plants above the ground frost.


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RE: Iceburg Lettuce from seed

Most of them were planted 1/27 and a few on 2/3. I have bigger pots I can move them to, where they can stay until the end of March. At that point they will be about 2 months old and will only need another month to mature. I could then transplant them, they can finish maturing outside in the garden until the end of April. The average temp here for May is about 68 degrees so if they are harvested at the end of April or early May, they should do fine, right???


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RE: Iceburg Lettuce from seed

I move mine outside to grow cool, they can take down to about 28F. The plants don't get a lot larger but the root system is what's important. Then I set them to the garden in the 1st or 2nd week of March. I'm not sure what your timing should be. You might want to start more than you need and stagger the planting dates to see what works best.


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RE: Iceburg Lettuce from seed

At that point they will be about 2 months old and will only need another month to mature. I could then transplant them, they can finish maturing outside in the garden until the end of April.

I agree with pls - March not April to the garden. Even in my zone lettuces are in the garden in March.

Plus keep in mind that DTM (days to maturity) is from the date transplanted to final growing place in the garden or container. It is NOT from the day of seeding.

Dave


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RE: Iceburg Lettuce from seed

Plus keep in mind that DTM (days to maturity) is from the date transplanted to final growing place in the garden or container. It is NOT from the day of seeding.

You're kidding me, right? Then let me just ask this. What is the point of starting seeds in doors and then moving them to the garden? I was under the impression that it gives you a head start. Now it seems pointless to do that because I'll grow the plants in containers for a month and then put them outside for 3 months when they are supposed to be mature in 90 days. I just prolonged the growing time by 30 days. There is no way this will work then. If I put the plants out in march, they will have to stay there until June. Our temps are WAY too warm and they will be bolting by the end of May.


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RE: Iceburg Lettuce from seed

Sure it gives you a head start. It allows you to plant an established transplant at the proper time rather than just planting a seed and waiting for that seed to germinate etc.

DTM = days to maturity or to harvest so one has to have a plant to plant first right? The given DTM of a variety assumes one recognizes that you have to add 6-8 weeks to that for germination of the seed and the seedling to develop.

This is true whether you start indoors or direct seed in the garden. First there has to be a plant. DTM is approximately (DTM is just a general guide at best) when that plant will mature and be ready to harvest.

If I put the plants out in march, they will have to stay there until June. Our temps are WAY too warm and they will be bolting by the end of May.

And that is one problem with iceberg lettuce - its long growing season. So you can either plant it outside much earlier then March (which in zone 8 should be easy to do either with or without protection on freeze nights), or plant it in a final container that can be moved in and out as the weather permits, or grow it in a greenhouse like the commercial growers do, or plan to artificially shade it outside as the weather warms, etc.

That's why most southern gardeners grow leaf lettuces instead as they have half the DTM of iceberg.

Dave


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RE: Iceburg Lettuce from seed

Thank you Dave. I was not aware that DTM didnt begin until transplant day. When should lettuce be transplanted? The 2nd SET of true leaves or the 2nd true leaf? A few of my plants have 2 leaves, a few are still working on it. I posted pictures on my blog, pls feel free to take a look. Do you think they are ready to be moved to the garden now? Our temps are low here at night but definitly above 28. Next week is supposed to be a little warmer with high's between 61-67 degrees. I'll get the garden ready this weekend and move them over if you think they are ready.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lettuce plants-Day 13


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RE: Iceburg Lettuce from seed

When should lettuce be transplanted? T

Transplanted to another container? Any time. Number of true leaves makes no real difference.

Transplanted outside to the garden? Probably any time after first set of true leaves develop. But the most important factor is the soil temp where you will be planting. It is soil temps, not air temps, that determine when most things can be transplanted to the garden. Lettuce tolerates any soil temp above 45 degrees.

Dave


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RE: Iceburg Lettuce from seed

Commercially lettuce gets the highest price when it is first on the local market. Lettuce farmers along the California coast use chicken manure for the first planting to get the soil temperature up. Big piles of manure are stacked next to the fields over the winter covered with a layer of gypsum to keep the flies and odor down before spreading on the soil and scratching in. Al


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RE: Iceburg Lettuce from seed

"You're kidding me, right?"

yep, thats about how it goes. lol. i have said that about 1000 times...hahaha

the next phrase youll use, usually right after saying that, is "well, off to the composter you go!"

lettuce doesnt mind cold much. it should be ok outside. mine went through 2 small freezes and i dont know how many frosts.


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