All Things Gardening forum: ideas for container lettuce etc.

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Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
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daylily
Feb 11, 2012 2:57 PM CST
I have always grown my lettuce in the ground. I buy a mix from Pinetree Gardens, and cut it way before the head stage. The last few years, we have harvested very little because it is to difficult for us.

I have a nice deck with a southern exposure, with a screen porch that could block late afternoon sun. I am thinking of getting some long, narrow planter boxes to line the deck so that I can plant the lettuce in them.

This would put the lettuce up at least a foot - maybe more, making harvesting and caring for it so much easier - plus no dragging the hose around the house to water.

Is there anything special I need to look for in containers or potting medium? I thought I would just mix potting soil with my compost. Put layer of rock in the bottom over top some old window screen to keep dirt from going out the drainage holes.

I have grown flowers in containers, but never lettuce.

Might want to try some turnips, radishes, carrots too...

Thanks
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[Last edited by daylily - Feb 12, 2012 12:32 AM (+)]
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Feb 11, 2012 11:05 PM CST
Juli, some of the nicest lettuce I've ever grown has been in self-watering flower boxes (from Gardeners' Supply - although I'm sure others would do just as well), using Miracle Grow potting soil. I find in hot weather it likes some protection from the hot sun so your porch blocking the afternoon sun would be a plus. If you have a railing on your deck you might be able to hang them from that and they would be at a very convenient level for you, and if necessary you could throw some Reemay or whatever over for a little more shade in the hot weather. Radishes would probably do fine in this type of planter too, but carrots and turnips would probably need something deeper. Happy gardening!
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Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
Region: United States of America Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Daylilies Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Master Level
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daylily
Feb 12, 2012 12:33 AM CST
Thanks, Sandy. I did not think of putting them on the railing. That would be even better. Thanks for that suggestion!
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Feb 12, 2012 12:37 AM CST
You are more than welcome! I tip my hat to you.
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
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kqcrna
Feb 12, 2012 5:58 AM CST
Juli, a truly elevated garden sounds like just the thing for you. Gardener's Supply has several types, but they're not cheap. If you have some handy person around you could probably have it built it a lot cheaper. (Sounds like a good project for Ric and Robyn)....

See some of these for ideas. They have excellent user reviews
http://www.gardeners.com/Standing-Garden/PotsPlanters_SelfWa...
http://www.gardeners.com/Elevated-Cedar-Raised-Bed/39-388RS,...

Karen
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Heucheras Echinacea
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NJBob
Feb 12, 2012 11:10 AM CST
Juli they make containers with a large cutout that just sits on top of standard 2 x 4 railing.Or just hang from railings.
http://www.hooksandlattice.com/rapl.html
I don't know this company just to show some pics. I got some at a good price on ebay last year. Do early season greens for summer you can do some herbs or flowers then some cold weather greens in the fall.
Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
Region: United States of America Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Daylilies Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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daylily
Feb 13, 2012 6:02 PM CST
Thanks, Karen and Bob!

I have a good friend who likes to work with wood. Since I already have some long planter boxes, perhaps he can make something for me to stabilize them on top of the railing. If not, those brackets on Bob's link might work well.

If not, just being up the one foot or so of the height of the planter box will help. I can sit on my little rolling garden stool to work with the boxes.

Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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woofie
Feb 15, 2012 3:19 PM CST
Here are a couple of short carrots that might work in a container for you, Juli! I keep wanting to try those little round ones. Smiling
http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-8557-atlas.aspx
http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-8643-caracas.aspx
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
Region: United States of America Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Daylilies Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Master Level
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daylily
Feb 15, 2012 4:24 PM CST
That is what I had in mind. I also liked growing turnips and harvesting when they are a little over an inch around. Yum!
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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woofie
Feb 15, 2012 4:39 PM CST
Mmmmm, bet those are good! I haven't grown turnips in over 10 years. I'm the only one who likes them here. Wonder how long the seeds keep.......
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Jan
Hustisford, WI
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philljm
Feb 17, 2012 8:12 AM CST
I grew parsley & basil in a large 5 gallon bucket last year - in fact the parsley is still going strong in my garage. I have a coworker that buys a lettuce mix from one of the box stores every spring, and grows the lettuce in a half barrel along her driveway (she lives in a condo)

I think your lettuce & stuff should do just fine in the planter - and as already mentioned, the smaller carrots ought to love a potting mix or soil/compost mixture.

I think that many of us gardeners are finding raised gardening and/ or container gardening a very convenient way to grow veggies. What previously has been thought of as only for flowers - has expanded to include fruits & vegetables. Heck, if I can plop a tomato plant in my flower garden, I can stick veggies in a bucket!

I especially like that I can move things around as necessary. ~Jan
Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
Region: United States of America Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Daylilies Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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daylily
Feb 17, 2012 10:29 AM CST
I used to grow annuals in all the planter boxes, but the last few years they have been expensive to get enough to fill the boxes nicely. So, I just put the boxes in the shed. Veggie seed is much less expensive!

I don't think that lettuce will need much depth. I have some boxes that are only about 8 inches deep. I might try some in those too.

I usually grow herbs in the two ceramic planters I have.
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
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NJBob
Feb 17, 2012 10:31 AM CST
Smaller trailing tomatoes like Tumbling Junior do very well in hanging baskets. And I grow Tomato Celebrity in 3 gallon pots on top of a bench at my mothers house with very good results.
Name: Kathy Phillips
Pearisburg, VA (Zone 7a)
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shihtzumom
Feb 29, 2012 9:35 AM CST
This idea is one I will be doing with strawberries & lettuce. I saw it in a magazine - get guttering and attach it to what ever you have - along the wood deck or as with me, we will attach rows of plastic, new guttering along the back side of our garage.

I will add some water crystals and a few drain holes and put 3 or 4 rows up. I'm sure you can find good, used guttering, but since our building is new I want to get new so it's nice and neat. Keeps bunnies away too.

Hope this helps
Kathy
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Feb 29, 2012 10:44 AM CST
I'd seen that idea, too! Unfortunately, the only wall I could attach to gets waaaaaay too hot for lettuce! But it's a neat idea. Smiling
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Heucheras Echinacea
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NJBob
Feb 29, 2012 2:38 PM CST
That sounds like a clever idea, You should put it in Tips of the day.
Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
Region: United States of America Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Daylilies Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Master Level
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daylily
Apr 2, 2012 7:19 PM CST
I did buy a few new, long planter boxes. Today, I filled them with soil and planted 3 of them with the lettuce mix. I have them on my deck railing. I still have several more to plant. I **thought** I had lettuce seed of various sorts left from last year, such as Dear Tongue, Red Sails, etc... but when I went to put the see in, all I had was Pinetree Gardens mix. So -- when I go to town, I will see if I can find some red and spotted lettuce to put in the remaining boxes, and perhaps some spinach.

It will be SO much easier to water and harvest in the boxes and not in the ground.

Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Apr 3, 2012 5:51 PM CST
A neighbor just told me that lettuce will grow well in shade. From reading and my own prejudice, I thought it needed "full sun" or "mostly sunny".

The spot being considered is between two buildings and also under two pine trees. It might get dappled sun briefly, a few times per day. The rest of them time, diffuse light or fairly shady. We do have a lot of clouds in this season, so "diffuse light" does mean "some light".

Do you think it is worth 3 cubic feet of soil, to try growing lettuce in a shady raised bed? I'm thinking of a bed with walls 48" x 16" x 8".

What kind of lettuce would be most shade tolerant - leaf lettuce, not heading?
I already have these varieties from trade, but no experience growing them:
"Marvielle of Four Seasons" - - 52 days
"Red Salad Bowl" - - - 50 days
"Black Seeded Simpson" - - - 45 days
'Bibb' - - - 50 days
'Grand Rapids' - - - 55-68 days
'Sunset' red leaf - - - 52 days
'Great Lakes' Lettuce
'Ruby' Lettuce
"Romaine" / "White Cos" - - - 75 days
'Iceberg' - - - 65-85 days
Corn Salad, Mache, Lamb's Lettuce - - - Valerianella locusta

What I have on hand is amended clay: amended with coffee grounds, composted manure, some crushed rock and pine bark mulch. I might buy and combine that with a bag of potting soil, more composted manure, or what-have-you.

That neighbor just offered to let me put a raised bed into that spot: I think it's in "her yard", but she thinks it's in "my yard". We live in a Manufactured Home park where we only rent the spaces, so it's almost a moot point. She has a big sunny backyard (big by park standards!) so she doesn't need the shady spot. I would share the letuce with her.

Are ANY vegetables or greens tolerant of part shade?

Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Apr 3, 2012 6:34 PM CST
Rick, in my experience, in really HOT weather lettuce appreciates some shade. I like growing it in containers that I can move to a sunny spot or into some shade, as the weather dictates; it also stays much cleaner in the containers and less problems with bugs and slugs.

Not sure about this, but it seems that most plants that are supposed to be red, like the Ruby and other red-leaf lettuces, need pretty much full sun to "color up."

i was really surprised to find recently that I can grow nice lettuce under my fluorescent lights -- I start lots of plants that way, but right now I have some beautiful 'Winter Density" and "Black Seeded Simpson" growing that I started in February, I have pics on my camera that I'll put on the computer tomorrow and post here for you to see; next winter I am going to make MUCH better use of my lights !

I would take your neighbor up on her offer and make a nice raised bed there and share the lettuce - and maybe try some in your shady spot and see how it does !
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Apr 3, 2012 6:46 PM CST
I've been growing lettuce and spinach in the coolest spot of my greenhouse since January, so I'd think a shady spot would do just fine. Lettuce won't even germinate over 75 deg and spinach would just as soon bolt as look at you. I've been growing Buttercrunch, Summer Crisp and Romaine along with a generic "Spinach" and we've been munching on it for a couple of weeks now. I thought lettuce wanted sun, too, but this is the first year I've had any I could actually eat!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.

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