Zone Overview is Important
It seems like it is very late for new crops to be planted since the winter is right around the corner. In reality, this time is a great time to plant, if you wanted to get a good start on the next year’s harvest. A lot of gardeners are afraid of this time since there are some crops that can rot away because of the harsh weather that some areas face.
In Chicago, and many other areas in the Midwest, the cold can be incredibly harsh, therefore planting in the correct zone is very important for crops to survive. There is one particular crop that can be planted during this time, that will still grow into an edible crop. That crop is lettuce, which is a very great crop that can handle very cold temperatures. Lettuce will also be ready for harvest around late April, or early May.
Why is Lettuce an exceptional crop to plant?
Lettuce is a great crop to plant for several reasons. WCNC mentions that it is, “One of the most giving vegetables you can plant.” This means that at the time of harvesting, there would be a large amount that is grown, and it can last you all the way to the next time you have to plant more seeds.
Another reason is the different types that exist. “Plant a blend of different lettuce types for variety (romaine, red leaf, etc),” according to WCNC. This gives you many more choices as to which kind you would want to plant for the fall. Variety is also good when it comes to how the garden ends up looking, after all, ready to harvest, or even during the winter. It gives that colorful look to the garden.
Lettuce is also great when it comes to cooler temperatures, which is why it is considered a fall and spring plant. “Lettuce and other salad greens are easy to grow and thrive in the cool temperatures of fall,” according to NC Cooperative Extension. It can survive cooler weather compared to other crops, and it will also come out to be incredibly fresh. There is nothing better than fresh and delicious lettuce.
Can Lettuce survive extreme temperatures?
Intense cold is something much of the Midwest has to endure through the winter. You may be wondering, “Can lettuce survive the winter?” The answer is yes. “Lettuce can usually tolerate a couple of hard frosts, especially if you’ve taken steps to harden off the seedlings and keep the soil warm,” according to Gardener’s Path. Most of the time, it depends on how you treat the soil when it comes to these intensely cold times. Maintaining the soil effectively, it can survive the winter, and by spring it will be ready for harvest.
However, they are not fully secure. Temperature also matters when it comes to plants. There is a certain temperature that they can tolerate, and there is one where they are in danger. Gardener’s Path adds, “Lettuce may cope with light freezing and even one or two hard freezes, but once the thermometer reads 25 degrees and below, the plants are in danger.” As aforementioned, they can tolerate a particular temperature, and that is anything higher than 25 degrees.
All in all, maintenance checks are important, to make sure they do not completely rot away. It’s important to check your thermometer often. If it’s less than 25 degrees, then you must take action immediately to prevent your crops from dying.
Written by David Loran Jr
WCNC: It’s time to grow your Fall veggies
Tucson.com: When planting veggies this fall, choose wisely
Gardener’s Path: Do You Need To Protect Lettuce From Frost in the Garden?
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Bernal Saborio’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Chiot’s Run’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License