Growing lettuce in the hoop house

On my last blog posting I wrote about building a hoop house out of reclaimed shade canopy parts.  After covering the structure I amended the soil with composted chicken manure.

Once the the soil was improved, I planted a few short rows of lettuce seedlings. And they’re doing great.

This crop of lettuce not only survived the single digit overnight temperatures we had out here last week, they’re actually thriving under the plastic. So, we’re still eating home grown organic salads from the garden in December.

Some garden soil was splashed onto the lettuce during hand watering, but they don't seem to mins at all.

The lettuce gets a dose of half-strength soluble fertilizer every other watering.

The success I’ve had so far in this little home-made greenhouse encouraged me enough to plant a second crop of lettuce this week.

Because the days are so much shorter now, the lettuce is not growing as fast as a spring crop would outside in the garden. That’s because there is not as much sunlight energy for photosynthesis right now — and the days are still getting shorter.

My goal is to harvest lettuce for Christmas dinner, anything beyond that I’ll consider a bonus. I’m sure if we get an extended period of cold weather between now and then, the plants will probably freeze. If they do, you’ll be the first to know.

I’ll keep you updated on how things progress this winter in the hoop house.

Bob Dluzen
As a result of being a gardener for more than 40 years, 30 of those as a professional, Bob's gardening has become an integral part of his life. "It's the ever-changing seasons and the wide variety of plants and gardens that keeps me intrigued," he says. Bob lives and gardens in rural Monroe County.