The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Lettuce and pea frost sensitivity

Baby lettuce

One-week-old lettuce and peas transplanted successfully out into the February garden. But how did they fare --- even protected by quick hoops --- when outside temperatures fell into the mid twenties?

Quick hoopsThe lettuce brushed off the cold as if it was nothing and kept right on growing. The photo above shows lettuce started inside February 12 then transplanted outside February 19 (on the right) versus lettuce direct-seeded on February 19 (on the left), both photographed after eleven days in dirt.

The difference is striking. The transplanted lettuce will be ready to eat in a week or two at this rate! (Yes, I snip the first leaf lettuce very young.) Of course, transplanting lettuce is pretty fiddly compared to broadcasting a handful of seed so densely that the crop provides a complete weed-buffer once the second set of true leaves emerge. But transplanting a small area looks very much worth it for extra early salads.

Frost-nipped pea seedlings

How about the pea seedlings? Results there were a little more spotty. The direct-seeded control area hasn't come up yet, and among the transplants some seedlings got a bit burned by the 25-degree night even with a quick hoop to protect them. On the other hand, other seedlings seem just as vigorous and happy as always. Looks like my planting calendar --- which told me to direct-seed a large area of lettuce and arugula under quick hoops this week but to wait two weeks for the main pea planting --- was spot on.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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