Lettuce, Bunching Onion, Radish, Carrot & Spinach

I have only one thing to say here: The Cook’s Garden (www.cooksgarden.com). They have the most incredible selection of salad greens I have ever seen. Included among their choices are lettuce mixes for cool weather and warm. Some are as vivid as a Monet painting is; others have extraordinary leaf shapes and textures. The Cook’s Garden offers European Mesclun mixes such as Provencal, which includes chervil, arugula, lettuce and endive, or Nicoise, it includes endive, chicory, dandelion, cress and arugula. They have traditional Italian and Mediterranean mixes. Simply an amazing selection and absolutely gorgeous to grow.

 Most leafy greens can be cut as needed and they will re-grow two or three more times. They also provide an opportunity to capitalize on having grow lights and using smaller, more economical bio sponges. Every two weeks sow the sponges with as many plants as you think you will eat in the same time frame later. When older plants have played out simply replace them with new starts. Bunching onions should be started at the same time on the same rotation. This is explored in the sowing calendars. Interplant the bunching onions with the lettuce. As they are harvested, like the lettuce, they can be replaced with new starts. Don’t forget to switch over to a more heat tolerant lettuce mix by mid May and prepare to add some shade cloth to keep your greens cool enough.

This is the ideal garden to include carrots and radishes. Both do best by sowing them directly in small amounts every two weeks. Lettuce, bunching onions, carrots, and radishes are superb companions to each other.

Unlike the big, beefy plants like tomatoes and eggplants, this collection needs a soil depth of only 10 inches. The following entries give the particulars of each of the varieties in this garden based on a last frost date of May 15.

 Garden Notes:

If planted directly in the soil, plant lettuce and mesclun at a depth of 1/8th to 1/4th inch of soil in small amounts every two weeks from 3/15 to 5/15 and again from 8/15 to 10/1. If switching to a heat tolerant blend do so by 6/1 and be prepared to add shade cloth.

Leaf lettuce should be thinned to 4-6 inches apart. You can begin harvesting in 30 days. When cutting be sure to leave about 2 inches of the stems. If lettuce is cut too close to the soil line sometimes it doesn’t grow back.

 If you want to grow head lettuce it should be started under lights and transplanted from 3/10 to 4/1. Be sure to plant these starts 10 inches apart.

 Early plantings of all greens including spinach require some protection from the cold. A product called floating row cover is inexpensive and only takes a few minutes to install.

 Bunching onions or green onions make up in about 60 days so start them ahead of your lettuce. When ready to set them out plant them randomly amidst the lettuce and not in rows. Onion maggots will move down rows from one plant to another. Plant bunching onions 3 inches apart.

 Direct sow radishes about ½ inch deep from 3/1 to 5/1 and again from 8/1 to 10/15. Radishes germinate in 3-10 days and can be ready to harvest from 20-60 days depending on the variety. Once germinated thin to 1-2 inches apart. Although radishes only require a depth of 4-8 inches of soil they are ideal companions in this collection.

 Direct sow carrot seed at a depth of 1/4th inch in small amounts every two weeks from 3/10 to 4/20 and again from 7/1 to 8/15. Carrots are slow. They take 12-25 days to germinate and 60-80 days to mature. Once germinated thin to 2 inches apart. Carrot seed is very small. Some people mix the seed in sand to minimize the waste of excessive thinning. Fine seed can also be mixed with dry, recycled coffee grounds to achieve the same thing.

 Spinach as a salad green is one of my favorites and it can be included in the lettuce collection. But if you want to grow strawberry its best friend is spinach.

 Strawberry is a perennial and will come up year after year. It loves pine needle mulch. If you want to include spinach this is one group (spinach and strawberry) that benefits when planted in alternating rows. Strawberry plants produce runners. I have seen growers pin down the runners in the row adjacent to the parent plants. Once rooted the tired parent is eliminated. Strawberry is remarkably easy to grow from seed and should be treated like any perennial in that regard. Many suppliers offer mature plants and the seed is not always easy to find.

 Spinach, like lettuce, is a cool weather plant. Direct sow about ½ inch deep in small amounts every two weeks from 2/15 to 4/1 and again from 9/1 to 10/1. Spinach germinates in about 5-12 days and is ready to harvest in about 40-60 days. Once germinated thin to 4 inches apart. 




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Responses to “Lettuce, Bunching Onion, Radish, Carrot & Spinach”

  1. Hello.This post was really fascinating, especially because I was searching for thoughts on this topic last Friday.

    • I am very happy that you are finding this blog useful. If you scroll through earlier posts to one entitled Shopping for Companion Plants, that article lists the herbal companions needed to create the essential biodiversity a healthy vegetable garden needs. The nine garden collections demonstrate how to combine common vegetables in a way that each component is enhanced by the others. To these groups you add the companion plants with the exception of few where specified in a particular garden collection. Thanks for your comment. There many posts to come.

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    • Actually, I haven’t yet decided. I have no doubt that I will add to this blog from time to time but ethnobotany and Mesolithic shamanism seem to take up most of my time and writing energy. But thanks for the comment and interest.

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