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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Planting Lettuces in Small Cups and Kales and Mustards

You can start lettuce indoors to get a really good jump. You can also start them outside to get a good jump on the season. You can also buy hardened seedlings/transplants from you local nursery. I do a little of each. I do find hardening off lettuce to be difficult. It burns really easily going from grow lights to sun.

The outdoor supplies... Trays, cups, seeds, and garden soil. The bag there was terrible soil.  It is fine for this occasion but it was way too woody and poorly composted. That is what I get for going cheap. I mixed part of the bag with the good stuff in the blue container and tossed the rest into the garden.

Fill the cups with the soil and leave a bit more then a quarter inch of cup showing below the rim. Press each cup of soil down gently. Greens only need like a quarter inch of soil on them for germination. The cups were $1.50 for 100. That is quite cheap. I will use them for a couple of seasons. The black trays are old trays. The key to growing these plants in the cups is to MAKE SURE you put holes in the cups and that there are holes in the black trays. The weather is cool and pooling water would be bad. I use old beat up black trays that have aged cracks and holes in them. Rain water will drain to the ground.

This is what is going in there. Red Romaine, Paris Romaine,  Black Seeded Simpson,  Ruby Red Leaf,  Arugula, Red Kale, Green Curled Vates  Kale,  Mustard Red Giant, and Mustard Southern Giant Green.

The lettuces go in at about 3-6 seeds per cup.  Lettuce divides and transplants easily. I just dropped in some seeds and then topped the cups off with loose soil. They will warm quickly in the sun and germinate faster then seeds put in the ground.

The kales and mustard greens went into seed trays only because I ran out of cups. I only put 2 or 3 kale and mustard green seeds in the cells or cups because they grow quite large. You can remove the weakest plant or divide them later. I pressed the soil down with my thumb and made a little depression for the seeds to sit in. They were covered with quarter inch of fine soil or so.

This is how the kale and mustard tray looked when done. Soil to the top.

The kale and greens are in black trays the DO NOT have holes. They grow large and the cells hold less soil then the cups. I want to be able to water them by filling the tray. My concern is they could dry out.

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