Category Archives: Gardening

Lettuce flowers, pod development & seed collection

Lettuce flowers in bloom
Lettuce flowers in bloom
Lettuce seed ready to collect
Lettuce seed ready to collect
Collected lettuce seed
Collected lettuce seed

I’m not one to harvest lettuce seed for reuse, as I like to try out new varieties but I have been curious about how the flowers look, and how the seeds develop so I let some go to seed.

It took weeks before I caught some flowers actually open. Most of the day the flowers are tightly closed. Since I never saw any flowers open I was beginning to think that they never really opened.

Conveniently I had one plant with open blooms and another with fully formed seed heads at the same time for the photographs.

The seed head I pulled the seeds from contained 18 seeds. One plant going to seed would be more than enough to supply for any garden the next year.

2016 Onion Crop

Back in February I started two types of onions, Ruby Red & Cortland. I started them in small 4″ containers in a flat to see how well they would grow given the limited root space.

Along the way I harvested a few here and there, but left them alone to grow for the most part. Both varieties are listed as 110 day varieties, but they took a bit longer to grow. Around 130 days I think they peaked in size.  Last week I noticed flower stalks coming up, that was at 200 days. I was expecting the tops to yellow like every other article on growing onions states will happen, but they never yellowed.

I’m not bothered that they went to seed before the tops yellowed. To be honest, I don’t think the weather here in San Francisco lends to predictable responses like that. I’ve preferred to use the fresh onions right from the ground.

I don’t know if they would have cured properly or not if I just cut off the roots and let them dry out, so I just chopped everything up for the freezer.

It wasn’t the greatest harvest, but for the space it occupied, it was totally worthwhile, and I will be growing some more next year.

Easy Cutworm Collars for Lettuce

After losing several lettuce plants to cutworms severing the stem completely in my garden, I wanted to find a good & inexpensive collar. These Lil Red shot cups are the perfect size for plant starts that are started in the smaller version of seed starter cells.

It works out to less than a quarter each, and these are reusable.

One modification I am going to try is to have a vertical slit so I can remove the collar when the lettuce is big enough that a cutworm won’t be able to kill it. I’m concerned about disturbing the roots too much by removing it though.

The collar is wide enough that the lettuce stem might be okay growing in the collar until it is harvested. It might not.

I have two of each type of lettuce I am growing in this batch, so I think for one of each type I will leave the collar on, and the other I will remove it when it is mature enough and see if there is a difference in growth.