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October 17, 2007


Denise Rugato

This is such a great website. So much helpful information. Thank you for the info on lettuce!

Lana Bryan

Congratulations on the Martha Stewart showing! Very fun to see you and Chef Kinch in the video. Pricking up lettuce! Thanks for that! So fun to learn new garden terminology.

Gary Millwood

Cynthia, How much I would enjoy participating in your gardening and self-sufficiency workshops! Problem is I am in Kentucky and distance is a problem. I do gleen tidbits of helpful information from your blog I must say, I know of no other program which offers so many helpful and interesting hands on experiences for new or experienced gardeners.
Thanks for sharing your Newsletter with me. I always enjoy reading it!

Love Apple Farm

Luigi: I have yet to find a good source in the North Bay. I always like Sunland Garden Products based in Corralitos (South Bay, California). They will deliver in bulk, but I don't know how much you need. If you need less than a couple of yards, consider purchasing planting compost by the bag. I don't recommend compost that has as its main ingredient something called "redwood forest product," as that is too high in tannins. Check the ingredient label. And finally, there is no substitute for your own good home-made compost. Consider coming down and taking my Compost & Vermiculture class on April 7.

Luigi DeMartini

Cynthia, I have been growing about 18 heirloom tomato plants a year. I have been using what seems to be a strong manure planting mix. There seems to be too much nitrogen and I'm looking for a good organic compost. Can you give me any information - I am in
Marin County.


i love your posts about lettuce. I have never grown lettuce before but I lived on a farm once and got to taste the real difference in fresh lettuces and herbs, especilly cilantro. Now i have all the info I need to get going on it. Beautiful one stop shop blog site!


Annette, thanks for the great questions. You can sow seed in flats all throughout the year. You can also prick those out all year long and then transplant those out to the garden in your mild winter zone (like mine). If a frost is forecast, you'll have to cover up the lettuce bed with a frost blanket. We'll have a post about frost blankets within the next few weeks.

The only thing that is tricky about lettuce sowing is that it is hard to get it to germinate when you sow it directly in a garden bed in the hottest part of the year. Lettuce doesn't germinate well when it's exposed to temperatures above 75 degrees.

Also, lettuce will be hard to sprout out in a garden bed if it's colder than, say, 40 degrees at night.

So best to start lettuce seeds in flat indoors during the extremes of the year: either too hot or too cold. Otherwise, you can get away with directly sowing it in a bed, and then thinning as it sprouts and gets too crowded. The thinnings are delicious in salads, or just eat them as you thin.

Annette Truong

Great article on growing better lettuce! I never had success with lettuce before, but I usually tried to direct-sow it outside. I'll try these steps. Is there a time of year it's too late to seed lettuce inside / prick out / translpant outside? I'm in California zone 9b (San Jose).

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