If you’ve lost lettuce plants to early bolting because of the heat, you have a second chance with a midsummer planting for fall crops. I’m banking on the return of seasonal temperatures, and thinking about what vegetable treats I might grow for harvesting in September through October. Now is when I order seeds for something special to pick when early autumn days are warm and nights are cool, but still not frosty. Cool-season crops like spinach and peas, which were delicious in spring, are ideal for planting in the first two weeks of August and harvested deep into fall.
I’m interested in growing little butterhead-type lettuces and French breakfast radishes. I’ll order some of the new sucrine lettuces (from sucre, the French word for sugar), the “next big thing” in lettuce breeds. They’re a cross between romaine and butterhead, producing sweetish mini heads of silky leaves. ‘Pearl’ and ‘Kendo’ make little heads that fit in the palm of your hand (a one-person serving), and are fully grown in 45 to 50 days (damseeds.ca). These are just perfect for growing in baskets or containers on a deck — they’re pretty to look at and delicious to eat.
I saved some seeds of ‘Dakota’ peas (veseys.com) from the spring sowing, and will plant them up early next month. These produce a harvest in 53 to 55 days, and were greatly enjoyed, so they’ll be back for an encore. Remember, it’s not over until the snow flies — so, onward and upward in the garden!