Lettuce in South Florida
I have discovered, and fallen in love with, butterhead lettuce. Peggy bought a couple of sprouts at a local farmer’s market, and planted them with our spices last fall. They are/were small, and from my reading, I think they are probably ‘Tom Thumb.’ In any event, the taste was incredible, and I want to grow a whole lot more, preferably of different types.
I’m a complete novice at growing vegetables, but from my reading, I gather that lettuce do not usually like hot weather, or a lot of sunshine. Since we didn’t know better, our butterhead and romaine were planted in full sunshine, but appeared to thrive, at least in the cool winter weather. Both they and the kale have now started growing stems, which from my reading indicates ‘bolting’ – I guess on the way to going to seed.
So now summer is near at hand, and we want to expand our gardening efforts, and some questions have become apparent:
1) What are the optimum conditions, seasons and cultivars for growing butterhead lettuce in South Florida? Can they be grown in summer, or should it just be a winter crop?
2) Our first effort, this last winter, was very gratifying; everything seemed to thrive. We had deliberately picked a planting location in full sunlight, all day long, since a previous effort by Peggy in the shade of the back porch had not prospered. But the question occurs: are some crops happier in the shade than in direct sun?
Any wisdom on these questions would be appreciated…0 thumbs up!Posted about 1 year ago
1. Almost all varieties of lettuce should be grown in the winter here in South Florida. The extreme heat that we experience throughout the rest of the year causes the lettuce to become bitter and usually to bolt and flower. This rule also goes for most brassica vegetables as well ( which is why im waiting till winter to plant my brussel sprouts). Just so you get an idea, ideal temperatures for growing butterhead is between 60 and 80 degrees F… around 65 being optimal…tell me when we get those temperatures here?? haha
2. Butterhead varieties tend to do better growing in a full sun area, but like i stressed before, without those cool temperatures, you will just get bitter leaves and the plant will rush to bolt and flower.
0 thumbs up!Posted about 1 year ago
Aha! Thank you for that information. Back to tending the fruit trees, at least until next winter…
0 thumbs up!Posted about 1 year ago
I am now trying a new way of growing lettuce during the summer- indoors, with grow lights. I bought 4’ long florescent grow lights made specifically for growing plants or use with aquariums. I planted a rectangular planter (2’ long, 8" wide & 8" deep) with a scattering of Burpee’s “Lettuce Gourmet Blend”. The packet said that seedlings would emerge in 7-10 days. They were sprouting the very next day. We keep the thermostat at 75-76 degrees. I haven’t set up the grow lights yet and have kept them by a a south and a west window. I’m going to thin some of the seedlings and transplant them into a second similar planter and then plant some “Tyee F1” (Seeds of Change) & " Harmony Hybrid" (Burpee) Spinach.
I’m not sure if this is a cost effective way to grow some of my food, but it will be nice to have fresh, great tasting organic greens whenever I want to pick them. I’m sure I’ll try growing other crops or start other seedlings later. My little lettuce plants are growing real well so far even just sitting in the light coming through the window, but I’m sure they’ll be better off in the long run under the grow lights. Maybe this is something you’d like to try too. I’ll let you know how things go.
1 thumbs up!Posted 11 months ago
So can we call it Loratika’s “Grow House”? : )
0 thumbs up!Posted 11 months ago
I guess we could, but there is something about the sound of that that I’m not too comfortable with. I have been in former “grow houses”, as a Realtor and they always seem to have a kind of creepy feel to them. I must admit that I’ve noticed that I see Hydroponic supply stores popping up all over town in small (& larger) neighborhood stores and I wonder what people are growing hydroponically, here in Miami. When I’ve gone into some of those stores, the salespersons don’t seem too interested in me, as soon as they realize that I’m growing an organic vegetable garden. I do admire people like halhurst, who have elaborate hydroponic set-ups with fish (talapia, I think) as part of the set-up for both food and to provide fertilizer for his plants. I’m very interested, but know I never would want to go to the trouble of setting everything up.
Call my efforts what you want, I’m just excited about my latest experiment!
1 thumbs up!Posted 11 months ago | Last edited 11 months ago
I’m wishing you great success in that endeavor. The thought of fresh lettuce in summer, especially if it’s butterhead, is almost irresistible. Please keep us posted.
I remember several years ago, when our eldest daughter applied to join the Metro-Dade Police Department. One of the questions on the app was “have you ever smoked marijuana?” She truthfully answered “no,” and they didn’t believe her. She had to take a lie detector test before they would accept her. That’s life in colorful South Florida.
0 thumbs up!Posted 11 months ago
Hi there! You're reading a conversation in the Southeast Florida Gardening Group group on Folia.
Since South Florida gardeners march to a different beat than most gardeners in the continental US and even North or Central Florida, it’d be nice to have a place where we could come together and share our experiences gardening in this subtropical climate. It would be nice to know what has or hasn’t worked for others in this region and where we find certain plants/seeds/gardening supplies locally or online. Does anyone know about an interesting gardening event coming up or do you have a plant that you’d like to share? What kind of pests are we encountering and where can we get free horse manure?
There’s a lot that we can share with each other, so let’s do it! Let’s encourage and possibly inspire others in our area too!
Even though this is a group geared specifically to Southeast Florida, everyone is welcomed, whether you are in another part of Florida, the US or the world!
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