We love lettuces for salads in warmer weather, so we plant cos or open leaf lettuces at this time as we get a better harvest than with iceberg-type lettuces.
In summer we plant them in a moist, cool spot, maybe in semi-shade from hot afternoon sun. Early morning sun is kind to them.
In hot sun and dry soil leafy greens go through their life cycle really quickly – these are not favorable conditions for growing lush greens. If a tiny seedling’s survival is threatened, it quickly produces a seed stalk instead of growing leaves. Suddenly they seem to sprout up, taller and taller.
We check soil moisture each day [move mulch aside and feel below the surface with a finger to decide if they need water]
It’s such a balancing act – too little moisture or too much [specially from over-head watering] cause stress. Too wet can cause leaves which touch each other to hold moisture and become slimy or mush – not nice!
When you see leafy greens starting to produce a flowering stalk, it’s time to plant new seeds to grow up for crops to harvest in a month or so.
Beware if considering planting leafy green seedlings in summer,
The shock of transplanting at this time is often enough to cause them to bolt instantly to seed while really tiny – no leaves to eat!
So, we generally plant seeds at this time rather than seedlings. Keep them moist so they can germinate and grow strong roots. This way they are ‘sort-of’ adapting to the current warm conditions, as much as possible.
Another point for good germination is soil temperature
Too hot and they wont even start! Cool shaded areas have much cooler soil temperature than out in full sun.
Try an experiment some time and go out at mid-afternoon and put your hand flat onto soil in full sun and notice how hot it is. Now feel soil in a shaded place.
Best times for planting seeds of greens?
After the new moon this first week of the new year is the best week to plant for lush leafy greens.
The best days are Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th January 2017