Lettuce patch update

lettuce patch shade cover

Here is my shade cloth over the lettuce patch. I also am going to put bird netting around the raised bed to keep out the rabbits. This morning I  thinned again (third time) my romaine (now 5 inches tall) and butter lettuce about 5 inches tall). I want to see if I get some big heads of romaine and butter heads but it is a lot of work always thinning them to make room for them to grow.  I am hoping the butter lettuce won’t bolt with the warm weather.

looper and lettuce damage

closeup of lettuce looper

I also found some small loopers (caterpillars) on some of the lettuce so I will spray with BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) today-an organic pesticide that won’t hurt bees or birds or humans and is specific to gets rid of caterpillars that do damage on our crops. Notice the holes in the lettuce and the little dark spots are frasse (poop). So if you see frasse- look for the loopers.

A few of the arugula are bolting but it bolts with the first bit of warm weather. I’m giving everything that bolts and the ends with roots to the chickens. I also picked Provencal lettuce mesclun which is wonderful and easy. I didn’t have to thin but one time. That plus you just cut off the tops of the lettuces and waa laa-instant salad. It should comeback 3 or more times. I am putting a shade cloth over the bed as I had some friends tell me they were able to have lettuce in the summer with it over them.

I also tried a new spinach for me called Bordeaux which I am very disappointed with. Very small leaves are sorta wimpy-not much there so I’m going to try some summer type of spinach that supposedly won’t bolt and have bigger more succulent leaves. Gonna try Tyee spinach. Suppose to resist bolting in the heat.

Lastly, pick your lettuce first thing in the morning after watering it the night before. To clean lettuce after I thin it, I pull it out roots and all and cut off the leaves above the the dirt and roots-less rinsing. Then in the kitchen I put it in some bowls of clean water to move debris and use a salad spinner to remove excess water. I put the lettuce  into a zip loc freezer bag with a damp paper towel folded up. This help keep it from getting limp.

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