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#360544 Sep 28th, 2012 at 09:54 AM
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Hello. I have been growing some salad greens, indoors, under two fluorescent tubed grow lights and they have been doing OK. But, I feel that they may flourish (or at least benefit) more from soaking up some natural sunlight from outside. However, I think it may be getting too hot out there...to the point where they allegedly become readily bitter and taste quality suffers, or so I have read. I live in Sacramento, CA, zone 9b. At the current moment, I am growing Buttercrunch Bibb lettuce, Nevada Batavia lettuce, and Red Mustard Greens. I checked the soil temps inside (about 77-degrees F) and outside (about 109-degrees F) at around 4:30 this afternoon. I put a couple of my smallest ones out there a couple of weeks ago to see how they would do. They are still small, but seem to be putting out stockier leaves...not sure how they taste due to their current (almost dwarfed) size and slow growth rate (I think they may be potbound and ready for transplanting). The test with the little one was to see if they could withstand the outdoor environment, which has been a success, but I do not want to sacrifice the taste of all my plants by putting them all outside. Any advice, tips, or suggestions on what my options are??

New_Gardner #360545 Sep 28th, 2012 at 10:58 AM
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Welcome New. Salad greens like you are wanting definitely do not like the heat. I would wait a couple of weeks at least to start a new crop then plant successive crops every couple of weeks after. Unless you get a hard freeze up there, you can do this all winter and into spring/early summer.
AS for your current crop, you may just have to do a taste test. Maybe part time outdoors and bring them in at night?


~Tina
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New_Gardner #360548 Sep 28th, 2012 at 12:56 PM
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Hi! I haven't commented here in a long time, but I lurk a lot. I am also in Sac. Last year was my first year growing lettuce. I planted a bunch of seeds in October, covered the area with bird net, watered daily and got lots of great lettuce.

My biggest problems were snails and tons of harlequin beetles.

Do you have the space to start from seed? It has been unusually hot lately, but sooner or later it has to cool down, right?

When it gets really cold, some people cover their crops with burlap or other stuff, but I am lazy and never did. I didn't lose any lettuce.

I don't know if I will plant lettuce again this year just because of the harlequin beetles. They disgust me and there were hundreds of them.

What else are you thinking of growing this fall/winter? How much space do you have?

cagardengirl #360593 Sep 29th, 2012 at 11:35 AM
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Thanks for the response Garden Girl! I have started everything I grow from seed. This is my first growing season, and I am about a couple months into it. I am growing the greens previously stated, as well as tomatoes, carrots, onions, sweet bell peppers, cilantro, sage, cantaloupes, watermelons, strawberries, morning glories, wormwood, and attempting avocado...I will be adding some mint really soon and maybe a few other random additions. I start them all indoors and transplant them into containers before putting them outside. I do not have much space. There is a big tree that shades my whole front yard and there is a destructive dog out back. Plus, the soil in the yards are pretty much just compacted dirt and the grass barely grows. I have a cage protecting my outside plants in their containers from the dog. The set up that I have there is a 5 X 5-foot space. However, my home is being repossessed and I only have a few months left here, so I need them to be readily transportable. I want to grow anything I can that I can afford and manage. I know what you mean about the beetles, they creep me out as well! I haven't had any pest problems yet...other than some really annoying flies and other similar creatures that were eating at my leaves and stems of my lettuce and some aphids on my cantaloupe, but I put a quick stop to all of that with an organic pesticide that I purchased (worked like a charm!). However, I put my watermelon seedlings out to try to harden them off before throwing them out in the direct sunlight, and came out a few hours later and one of the seedlings was chomped completely off...I should have sprayed them before putting them out, but did not think of it until it was too late. It was sitting on a ledge inside an enclosed patio, so I am not quite sure who the culprit is...I found a half eaten leaf a few inches away, and a piece of the stem and another leaf maybe a few inches from that as well. My friends suggested that it was probably a some kind of slug or even a ladybug. Anyhow, so did your lettuce do OK outside during the daytime without intervening? Or, did you have to put up a shade cover or something?? Thanks for all your help!

Last edited by New_Gardner; Sep 29th, 2012 at 01:43 PM.
Tina #360599 Sep 29th, 2012 at 01:37 PM
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Thanks for responding Tina! I just planted another crop of lettuce about a week or two ago. I am not so much concerned about nighttime conditions than I am with daytime conditions; I can cover them at night to keep them from frost, but I am not sure how to go about getting them adequate sun exposure without over heating them. I have a little homemade grow box for my plants while in their beginning stages. I was contemplating just taking the whole box outside and covering that with some screening to provide some shading, in hopes that it would keep the soil temps down. But, then again, that plan may backfire and actually hold the heat in like a green house, which could possibly make the soil even hotter...?? I am not sure of any of this, it is all speculation at this point, and I have not decided what to do yet. Do you have any other thoughts or suggestions that may be helpful for my situation?

New_Gardner #360600 Sep 29th, 2012 at 01:50 PM
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No problem, New Gardner. We are lucky to have a lot of great local resources for gardening. If you aren't familiar with them, I can PM you here with some info. It's nice to have information that applies to your specific area. I could recommend a few websites for container gardening, small space gardening, and vertical gardening if that is of interest to you.

We actually have our garden at a community garden. We have 4 nutty dogs who would surely destroy new growth in my backyard. It is fantastic.

Have you tried using food grade Diatomaceous Earth to control pests? It is fairly inexpensive and safe to use around pets (when used properly). It can harm other insects so it has to be used carefully.

The ground here can be really clay-like and difficult to grow in. Compost can help if you have access or can afford to purchase it.

I'm no expert, but morning glories and mint, I believe, can be pretty invasive. You might want to keep a close eye on them so they don't take over your small space. There are lots of non-invasive, native species of flowers that can complement a veggie garden and bring butterflies and bees. They require less water than some other non-native plants as well.

I hope you'll add updates so I can see how your garden is doing here. This is only our second year of gardening so I have lots to learn.

cagardengirl #360623 Sep 30th, 2012 at 08:46 AM
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I am interested in your recommendations for websites as well as your community garden. I am a beginner gardener, but I have been wanting to get involved in some kind of community service and was interested in starting (or at least contributing to) some kind of community and/or school garden somewhere in my area.

I was unaware of Diatomaceous Earth. What I have already purchased is Garden Safe Insecticidal Soap and that has actually worked surprisingly well and it is safe for use around kids, pets, and environment...and it also claims to not harm beneficial bugs as well, so I am satisfied with with that for my current pest control needs. Plus, I am currently strapped for cash and not sure when my next stipend will be dispersed (I am a full-time student and very little cash comes my way after classes and materials are paid for). Yes, the ground soil here is very clay-like. I was thinking of making my own compost.

Should I still be worried about invasive plants even though they are in separate containers? My space is actually on a paved driveway (in my backyard). I haven't taken pictures for a couple of weeks now, but I need to and will soon here and I will post to let you see how everything is doing.

New_Gardner #360628 Sep 30th, 2012 at 09:54 AM
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Hi again,

I PMd you with local info. I don't really know about invasive plants in containers vs. the ground. Anytime I have had a garden question, someone here has been able to help.



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