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Shop Lettuce Seeds
Organic Lettuce - Growing and Seed Saving Info
Lettuce (Latuca sativa) is cool season annual
in the Compositae family, which
includes endive, escarole, chicory, globe artichoke, sunflower, Jerusalem
artichoke, salsify, and burdock.
Looseleaf- var.crispa. First to maturity, these fast growing lettuces
do not form a head. Good for babyleaf
Butterhead - also known as bib, or Boston, this type forms a loose head with
slightly oily leaves. Beautiful, sweet and tender, but bruises and tears
Romaine – var.longfolia. Romaine forms a tall dense upright head
with a tender heart. It tolerates warm temperatures and is less prone to
Iceberg – var. capitata. The fussiest type to grow, iceberg will
form a compact round head if given a long cool season. It bolts easily if
cool, well drained, loose soil with pH 6.2-6.8. Lettuce is sensitive to low
pH. Use 50-75lbs Nitrogen/acre, ~150
Phosphorus and Potassium/acre. Sidedress with N 3-4 weeks after planting.
With transplanting, use 2lbs/50 gallons starter fertilizer, 4-8oz per plant.
to partial shade
seeds require minimum amount of light for germination.
- ~60 seeds/ft, in 2” bands. Full size - ~3 seeds every 8-10”.
– continuous band. Full size – 8-12”
- ¾” between bands, 16 rows/36” bed. Full size - 12-18” or 3 rows/36” bed, 5’
When to Sow
can be seeded in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Days to
maturity are from direct seeding in spring conditions, subtract 10-14 days if
transplanting, subtract 7-10 days if planting in summer conditions, add 20
days if planting late summer-fall In certain areas, lettuce can be grown
throughout the summer by choosing varieties which are heat tolerant; however,
many lettuce varieties have difficulty germinating in soils above 75°F.
Start transplants 3-4 weeks before setting out. Sow seeds 4 per inch in
flats or small-cell plug trays, barely covering with fine soil. If sowing
into flats, transplant 2 weeks later into plug trays, pots, or into another
flat at 1-2” apart.
off seedlings by reducing water and temperature for 2-3 days before
cold tolerant varieties to withstand light late-season frosts.
moisture levels even. Drought stress can cause bolting.
heat tolerant, bold-resistant varieties (such as Batavian types) for summer
seeds/oz avg. M= 1,000, MM=1,000,000
- 96M seeds/100’ bed (~ 4 oz), 960M seeds/1,000’ bed (2.5 lbs), 7.7MM
seeds/acre (~20 lbs), using ~960 seeds/ft, 16 rows/bed, 36” beds, 6’ row
centers. Full Size - 360 plants/100’ beds (~1/32 oz), 3,600 plants/1,000’
beds (1 oz), using 10” spacing, 3 rows/36” bed, 5’ center beds. 31M
plants/acre (~2 oz), using 10” plant spacing. These specifications are meant
to be general guidelines for the particular application as noted. They can be
loosely applied across the board for lettuces/mixes found in this section.
Seed Coating /
the varieties we carry receive an organic film coating applied to the seed,
which make the seed easier to see during planting.
holds best when harvested in the morning and cooled rapidly. For salad
mix or baby leaf production, harvest individual leaves when they reach
desired size, or cut evenly across the bed making sure to stay above the
growing tip. For a continuous harvest, sow lettuce every 3 weeks.
just above freezing temperatures with 98% humidity.
Tarnished Plant Bugs cause
brown scarring on stems. Romaine is especially susceptible.
Cabbage looper and cutworms
can be controlled by Bacillus thuringiensis (such as Dipel DF, see
Supplies) and/or spinosad (such as Entrust™), preferentially in rotation
with one another to prevent selection of resistant individuals (check
with your certifier before applying).
Leafminers burrow underneath
the skin and leave weaving, translucent trails. They are usually
controlled by natural enemies.
Slugs and Snails can be
baited by beer traps. Practice clean cultivation and avoid mulch.
lettuce diseases are best prevented by production practices that maximize
airflow around heads to stimulate rapid drying. Many varieties have been bred
to have disease resistance.
Downy Mildew (race specified, if known), TB: Tip Burn, WM: White Mold, BHR:
Bacterial Head Rot, BR: Bottom Rot, HS: Heat Stress, LMV: Lettuce Mosaic
Virus, APH: Aphids,
Drop (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum,
also called white mold). Grow on raised beds, rotate crops with grass.
Bottom rot (Rhizoctonia
solani). Select plants with upright growth habit. Take care not to set seedlings
Lettuce mosaic virus (LMV) is
highly seed-borne. Choose a reputable seed source. MTO-10, MTO-30: 10,000 or 30,000 seeds were tested for the
presence of Lettuce Mosaic Virus, none was found. A disease-free test
does not guarantee a seed lot to be disease-free, only that no pathogen
was detected in sample.
Damping-off (caused by a
number of soil-borne fungi) Avoid overwatering when plants are young.
Downy mildew (Bremia
Self-pollinated. Lettuce varieties will not cross
pollinate with each other even at short distances, but beware of any wild
lettuce which can cross with lettuce. Allow plants to "bolt" and
eventually flower. Under wet conditions lettuce plants may need to be covered
with a rain cover or grown in a greenhouse to prevent fungus from infecting
the plant and seed heads. Carefully shake the seedheads into a paper bag to
allow the mature seeds to be collected while leaving the immature seeds and
flowers to keep growing. Gather every few days until no more seeds remain.
Also, you can simply harvest the entire plant when about half of the seeds
are mature and allow the rest to mature inside by standing up the plants in a
box and on a cloth or tarp. Use an 1/8" screen to help with cleaning.
Lettuce seed can remain viable for 3 years under cool and dry storage
Welcome to the December edition of the Seed Bin - High Mowing Seeds Online Newsletter!
December has arrived in strong contrast to November’s exit; while November 30 set records for warmth across Vermont, December 1 brings us appropriately-chilly weather, with a rainy, snowy mix, just what one wou ...[+]ld expect for early December. This is the perfect weather for catching up on end-of-the-year evaluations. While the season is still fresh in the mind, this is a great time for looking back at the year past, with an eye to the year ahead. What were the greatest successes? What were the biggest challenges? How can the successes be built upon, and how can the challenges best be addressed? These are important questions to ask, whether you are growing food for your family or as a commercial enterprise. Often, this evaluation includes a look at which varieties to grow, and accordingly what seeds to buy. Here at High Mowing Seeds, we look forward to assisting you in this process. We are very excited to announce the arrival of our new 2007 catalog! You can now view and order from the entire catalog at www.highmowingseeds.com, where you will find many new varieties, as well as increased quantities of old favorites. We will discuss some of the highlights of the new catalog later in this newsletter.
For those of you who are growing organically commercially and require certification for your operations, the issue of where to buy seed is particularly important, as USDA regulations require the use of organic seed whenever possible. This regulation has been cause of both controversy and confusion in the organic community; this month, we have an article written by Rodale Institute Farm Manager Jeff Moyer, entitled “Let’s Get Real, and All Commit To Using Organic Seed”. Whether you grow for fun or profit, this article will give you some insight into the reasons growing with organic seed is such an integral part of sustainable agriculture. And in honor of the new Sprouts and Shoots category in our 2007 catalog, we devote this month’s recipe offerings to the world of sprouts.
December also heralds a new transition for the Seed Bin, as I will no longer be serving as editor for this newsletter. Having started the publication years ago, I have grown fond of putting together this monthly depository of agricultural information, and I will miss the dialogue I have enjoyed with many of you, as you have written in with the comments, questions, and criticisms that have helped to shape the Seed Bin into what it is today.
Once again, thanks for reading, and have a safe and happy holiday season!
In This Issue:
- Announcing the New 2007 High Mowing Organic Seeds Catalog!
- Let's Get Real, and All Commit To Using Organic Seed, by Rodale Institute Farm Manager Jeff Moyer
- Recipe of the month, and more!
Announcing the New 2007 High Mowing Organic Seeds Catalog!
We are pleased to announce the release of our new 2007 100% Certified Organic Seed Catalog! In these pages you will find the culmination of the hard work of our entire staff to bring you one of the largest selections of the highest quality organic seeds available anywhere. We have continued to work hard in every area of our company from our seed production, research, testing and cleaning to our customer service and customer care. It is our goal to support those who have helped us grow by offering the most comprehensive and dedicated service around.
We have continued to expand our offerings based on customer requests and market demand with many new vegetable varieties, including a greatly expanded selection of world-class hybrids and new and improved open pollinated varieties. We have increased offerings in a number of crop types, including broccoli and cole crops, cabbage, onions, as well as - offering for the first time - sprouts and micro greens. We are also offering pelleted seed of selected lettuce, carrot, and celery varieties. For lettuce seed we are also offering lettuce mosaic testing (MTO-10) for selected commercial varieties. The new selections that you’ll find in this catalog proved to be standouts in our 2006 trials.
We are very proud to announce the release of two completely new vegetable varieties this year, Sugar Dumpling F1 hybrid winter squash and Sunkist F1 hybrid orange slicing tomato. We are at present the exclusive distributors of these excellent varieties from the first class breeding program at the University of New Hampshire.
We hope you’ll try them, as we are certain you will have great success with them in your home garden or farm. We have also added many exciting new additions to our ever-expanding profile of hybrid varieties. As mentioned before, a selection of new cole crops joins the ranks in this year’s catalog: Korridor F1Hybrid is our first kohlrabi; if you’ve not had the opportunity to grow kohlrabi, take advantage of this highly under-appreciated treasure of the garden! Others include Fiesta F1 Hybrid broccoli, Cassius F1 Hybrid cauliflower, and Invento F1 Hybrid cabbage. In the world of greens, Ripbor F1 Hybrid adds to our already strong selection of open-pollinated kales, and Renegade F1 Hybrid is the newest spinach on the block. For hot crops, Saigon F1 Hybrid is a lovely orange pepper, and cherry tomato fans can rejoice in the introduction of Suzanne F1 Hybrid. These are just the tip of the iceberg; as you look through the catalog, you will see the NEW! tag at the beginning of the description of all our new varieties.
We realize that seeds alone do not make a farm. Without the right tools, accessories, and USDA and OMRI approved fertilizers, disease control and insect control products, no organic garden or farm can be successful. In response to your terrific requests and recommendations, we have continued to expand our extensive accessory section. We are very excited to offer bio-degradable plastic mulch for the first time, as this product promises to help move the worlds of plasticulture and organic agriculture into closer harmony. New selections of Hortonova trellises will aid in your pea growing endeavors, and a new line of tools, including hoes, weeders, knives, and sharpeners, will help you from cultivation through harvesting.
Those of you already familiar with our company know we are dedicated to organic seeds like no other company in the U.S. We have the highest organic integrity and attention to professional, high-quality seeds and service. We are proud of the offerings we present in this new catalog, and look forward to serving you in the year to come. Thank you so much for your continued support!
Let's Get Real, and All Commit To Using Organic Seed
by Rodale Institute Farm Manager Jeff Moyer
I’ve just returned from the October NOSB (National Organic Standards Board) meeting in Washington, D.C., fully energized and excited about the future of this industry. From every conceivable corner, organic products are flooding into the marketplace. And every one of them needs what you and I produce—the raw ingredients from farm products, crops and livestock.
Even though I haven’t even finished harvesting our 2006 crops, it’s already time to order seeds for next year to help feed that growing demand for organic goods. I know I have to think about next spring, but it feels too soon, sort of like the retailers bringing out the Christmas decorations before Halloween.
So, where will you be ordering your seeds this year? Same place as last year that couldn’t find what you should have planted? Or will you really be searching for the crop varieties you want in the organic marketplace? This is not merely a rhetorical question. And, it’s not really a matter of choice—it’s the law.
What do I mean “it’s the law”? Well, I mean the USDA National Organic Program rule clearly states that farmers and growers must, and I repeat, must use certified organic seed—unless the seed you really need is not commercially available. Most accredited certifiers require that anyone not using certified organic seeds must document their search for organic seeds and document their non-availability established through reasonable search efforts.
Need more evidence of the intent of the NOP regulations? Check this:
§ 205.204 Seeds and planting stock practice standard.
(a) The producer must use organically grown seeds, annual seedlings, and planting stock: Except, That,
(1) Nonorganically produced, untreated seeds and planting stock may be used to produce an organic crop when an equivalent organically produced variety is not commercially available, Except, That, organically produced seed must be used for the production of edible sprouts;
(2) Nonorganically produced seeds and planting stock that have been treated with a substance included on the National List of synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production may be used to produce an organic crop when an equivalent organically produced or untreated variety is not commercially available;
(3) Nonorganically produced annual seedlings may be used to produce an organic crop when a temporary variance has been granted in accordance with § 205.290(a)(2);
(4) Nonorganically produced planting stock to be used to produce a perennial crop may be sold, labeled, or represented as organically produced only after the planting stock has been maintained under a system of organic management for a period of no less than 1 year; and
(5) Seeds, annual seedlings, and planting stock treated with prohibited substances may be used to produce an organic crop when the application of the materials is a requirement of Federal or State phytosanitary regulations.
So what does “commercially available” and non-available mean? Unfortunately the definition as stated in the federal rule and printed below is open to a great deal of interpretation by certifying agencies.
Commercially available: The ability to obtain a production input in an appropriate form, quality, or quantity to fulfill an essential function in a system of organic production or handling, as determined by the certifying agent in the course of reviewing the organic plan.
The organic seed mandate is also vulnerable to “over-specification” by some organic farmers. They list specific varieties they know will be virtually impossible to locate in the organic seed marketplace so they can purchase seeds—at a lower cost—that are not certified organic.
Avoiding the purchase of organic seed simply because it costs more or we don’t recognize the seed number should not be our goal. As farmers we need to support the industry from top to bottom. Our goal should always be to use organically produced products in every way we can—including seeds.
Why? For many reasons. As I mentioned, it is the intent of the law to require it. Even more importantly, it supports other sectors of our industry as they try to move organics forward. It also encourages seed producers to expand their line of varieties, helps fund breeding programs geared to the distinctive characteristics of organic production, and will ultimately help secure your farm’s ability to prosper in this exciting marketplace.
OK, you may say, but where can I find these seeds? Great question! I’m glad I thought to ask it. The answer is—in several places.
A good place to start is with your organic certifier. Many certifiers keep a list of potential organic seed suppliers. While certifiers cannot, by law, tell you where to buy seeds or hand-pick specific suppliers to endorse, they can make educational materials available.
There are several databases available for your use. OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) has an online database of seed suppliers who pay a fee to have their information listed for your benefit. An individual, Brian Rakita, has a web site at http://www.savingourseed.org/ that will actually help you search for seeds. The Organic Seed Alliance http://www.seedalliance.org/ is another excellent resource.
Finally, use your current seedhouse to locate the varieties you need. If they can’t find any after you give them plenty of time and variety choices, at least have them document their search for you.
Now, once you find the seeds—buy them. Don’t use end-runs to avoid supporting the good people trying to build quality and integrity into the organic seed industry. Find the sources that are doing the most for organic farmers in their regions or across the country. We all need the support of each other as we struggle to move organics into the mainstream by keeping our organic values intact. After all, that’s how we grow...
From One Farm to Another,
Jeff Moyer is the farm manager at the 333-acre Rodale Institute research farm, and has been there for over 26 years, refining the farm's cover cropping and crop rotation systems. The farm has over 1,000 organic apple trees, a 3-acre CSA, 270 acres in a rotation of corn, small grains, hay, and edible soy beans for a Japanese market, and 25 acres of experimental research plots that have been used to test and compare the yield, soil health and environmental impact of organic and conventional systems for the last 22 years.
Recipe of the Month
We are excited to introduce a brand-new category in this year's catalog - Sprouts and Shoots! Sprouting is easy, and can be done anywhere, without soil or light; it makes a great family project, and is a wonderful educational process to share with young children. And, they're delicious! Each with its own texture and flavor, there is a sprout for every dish. So what are you waiting for? Start sprouting with our 100% certified organic seeds, and try out these terrific dishes!
Bean Sprout Salad in Outrageous Dressing
One of our very favorite recipes - of any kind. The dressing is beyond compare!!!
1 pound (or more) Mung Bean Sprouts
1 cup cucumber - peeled and sliced
1/2 + cup carrot - grated
1+ cup sweet peppers (use as many colors as you like) - chopped
Any and all other tasty colorful vegetables
3 Tbs. tahini or crunchy peanut butter (or combination of the two)
2 Tbs. soy sauce
4 Tbs. vinegar
1 Tbs. hot red pepper oil
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
2 Tbs. corn, sunflower or vegetable oil
1 Tbs. ginger - minced
1 Tbs. garlic - minced
1 Tbs. scallions - minced
1 Tbs. white wine
1 tsp. hot mustard (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
bean thread or rice noodles (optional)
Optional: poach mung beans for 1/2 - 2 minutes by putting them in rapidly boiling water, remove to strainer and cool with cold water. Drain well.
Mix all vegetables and sprouts in a bowl.
Mix all dressing ingredients together and pour over sprouts + vegetable mix.
Chill and garnish with minced scallions and toasted sesame oil.
Serve over bean thread rice noodles if you like (we do). Serves 4.
This recipe is from Henry Chung's famous Hunan Restaurant in San Francisco. Henry signed my copy of his cookbook and I have used it so much and for so long that many of the pages are hard to read for all of the cooking stains. Thanks Henry, you have made our lives far more delicious!
This recipe is also great with shredded chicken added to or in place of the mung beans.
Gil's Sprout Fried Rice
1 cup white rice (basmati is best)
2/3 cup coconut milk
1 1/3 cups water
2 Tbs. oil (corn, peanut, or veg.)
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. sugar
8-16 oz. Sprouted Beans
Combine the rice with the water and coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is done.
Heat a skillet or wok over high heat for 1 minute, add oil and heat until smoking.
Toss in Sprouted Beans and stirfry for 1-2 minutes, add rice, soy sauce and sugar and continue stir-frying for 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat and eat! Serves 2.
Served at the wonderful Kafe Kohoutek in Madison, Wisconsin.
(Don't look for it - it's not there anymore.)
Any bean sprout will do quite nicely in this recipe. A complete protein.
Pea Sprout Spread/Dip
2 cups Sprouted Peas
1/4 cup unrefined corn oil or olive oil
1 large onion - chopped
1 clove garlic - chopped
Puree the ingredients in a food processor and season to taste. Serve as desired; this is a dip for spreading on crackers and veggies.
Add anything you want to alter flavor and texture. You can use a variety of sprouted beans, if you prefer their flavor, color, etc.
All Sources: http://www.sproutpeople.com/cookery.html
Read a Previous Seed Bin Issue
Looking for an old article or recipe? You can read old issues of the Seed Bin here. Please note that Sale items listed in these archival issues are no longer valid.
Let's Make it Better This is your newsletter, not ours - we just write it. Just as your comments, questions, concerns, and field experience have helped to guide our business in every way, from variety selection to customer service, we rely on your feedback to guide the creation of a publication that is informative, inspirational, entertaining, and enjoyable to read. What would you like to see more or less of? Technical advice? Seed saving tips? Tools and techniques? Information about High Mowing Seeds? We want to give you what you want, so please let us hear from you! Write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments, critiques, and questions.
Thanks for reading - and responding!
Jeff Moyer, Rodale Institute Farm Manager - Feature Writer
Jacob Racusin - General Editor