Planting lettuce when it is under 32 degrees outside

One of the great things about lettuce is that it can basically be grown year round if you are growing it in the right conditions.  Lettuce is a very hardy crop and will grow in some pretty nasty conditions.  That last part sums up the start of spring in Michigan for 2013.  The groundhog was definitely wrong this year!

Oh well.  If you are from Michigan like I am, you are used to changing temperatures.  Last year, it was 80 degrees on St. Patties day and the walleye were running in the Detroit river.  This year, the temps are about 50 degrees colder and the walleye are just starting to make their way up.  What a difference a year makes.

Anyways...  My family eats a lot of lettuce so this year I am trying to maximize my lettuce growing season.  I started some lettuce in my basement a few weeks ago and put some out in a few of my raised gardens this afternoon.  The weatherman is calling for some freezing night-time temps for the next few days but I am eager to get my other seeds started so they went out today.

I am pretty sure the lettuce will make it through the night even if the temps dip under freezing.  I have heard of people growing lettuce right through the winter using unheated hoop-houses.  It is better to be safe than sorry though so I cut up some milk-jugs I had been saving to place over the lettuce.  This extra bit of insulation should be enough to keep the lettuce safe during the night.

The lettuce plants were not the only gardening I did today.  I also planted some lettuce seeds in another bed that I was able to work up.  The ground is still pretty cold but I am hoping that the seed will start coming up soon.  To help with germination, I put some old windows over the spot where I planted the seeds.  This will help warm the soil faster than mother nature. 

The plan after that is to wait a week or two and then make another planting.  Once that planting starts to come up, I will make one more planting so I will have lettuce all the way up to when it gets hot.  This should be enough lettuce to get me through until the other garden stuff starts maturing.

Check out my first planting of the 2013 season

I cut some milk-jugs to protect the lettuce from the freezing temps

First planting from seed

Lettuce plants from the basement covered in milk-jugs

old window panes that were given to me

that soil was pretty frozen!

Some of the lettuce plants I started in the basement

They are in the ground!  Cross your fingers.

Wish me luck!

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