Wednesday, June 8, 2011
The Dreaded Bolt.
This year I have two beds under shade cloth, and I have been watering the lettuce daily. So far there are no flower/seed stalks going up, but I have not been able to sample the lettuce to see if the bitterness has increased. Brassicas and cilantro have however bolted under the cloth.
The 'Slobolt' lettuce seed I ordered has offered zero germination so I can't count on that one getting me through the summer. I do have other supposed heat tolerant mixes to sow for summer and fall cutting as soon as I make some room. It seems as though starting the seedlings under fewer hours of light may lengthen the number of days until bolting occurs. (Just how does one accomplish this without grow lights in the basement though?) Maybe sow them in trays or lettuce boxes on a shady porch?
Interestingly enough I have noticed another benefit from using shade cloth this year, it seems to be keeping the little green worms of my asian greens and mesclun mix. From now on I will keep shade cloth over those greens even in cooler weather.
So here is my question for all of you, what varieties of lettuce and or greens do find to be tolerant of longer days, higher temperatures, and large fluctuations? Do you have any tricks that seem to help prolong your harvest season?