cold tolerant lettuce and brassica seed

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Bower
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cold tolerant lettuce and brassica seed

#1

Post: # 61215Unread post Bower
Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:32 pm

Just starting some greens here under the lights this past week, and we've had a bit of a cold snap - I guess! which really affected germination under lights in the basement window. Must be colder than usual because I've never seen anything like this before - two rows in a 1020 tray, and a lot more germination in the 'inside' lane, compared to those closer to the window.

For example, here are two trays sown with identical brassica seeds (3 lots of Yu Choy from 2018). The one on the left was on the outside by the window, the one on the right was on the inside. Must be only a few degrees difference, I should think, but wow it made a big difference. It was more dramatic a couple of days ago, and should've taken a pic then. Anyway these got moved away from the window and under an LED light. Then I spread out the others into two trays to make sure the single row would actually be under the lights and getting some heat from that too. And I'm moving them away from the window when lights go out at night.
brassica-cold-fx-317.JPG
cold-window-lights-321.JPG
I thought it was interesting (and news to me) that some of my 11 kinds of lettuce and half dozen brassicas were able to get their seeds up just as quickly in the cold row, while others were very clear - not gonna germinate at lower degrees.
It wasn't a perfect test, since the seeds are different sources and ages and some are not so good. Also I didn't count out equal seeds into both sides they were randomly sprinkled not expecting to be doing a 'cold tolerance' test. But still it was worth noting down the ones that were very clear either for or against the colder lane.

Most cold tolerant lettuce seeds (emerging equally in the cold lane):
Red Romaine, Iceberg, Cocarde, Monte Carlo
Moderately cold tolerant (reduced or slower germination in the cold):
Merveille des 4 Saisons, Green Ice, May Queen, Sherwood
Couldn't tell: Red Velvet didn't germinate at all (crappy seed IMO) Red Iceberg only a very few (could be seed quality)
and Winter Density was only in the warm lane so no data.

Also in the brassicas there were some clear differences.
Bok Choy and a Bok Choy cross both germinated well at both temperatures, as did the Arugula.
Blues napa cabbage and Yod Fah and Miz America germinated only in the warm lane;
Mizuna had reduced germination in the colder lane but some in both.

So tell me, what are your favorite lettuces and/or brassica greens for the earliest or coldest part of the year?
What germinates reliably for you in cold temperatures?
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Tormato
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Re: cold tolerant lettuce and brassica seed

#2

Post: # 61216Unread post Tormato
Sat Jan 22, 2022 4:04 pm

I haven't trialed it yet, but I have (extra) seeds of Landis Winter lettuce.

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Re: cold tolerant lettuce and brassica seed

#3

Post: # 61224Unread post Bower
Sat Jan 22, 2022 6:00 pm

I just read the reviews at Baker Creek... sounds like the real deal, even sprouting from the stump after seeming to be dead? :o
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Re: cold tolerant lettuce and brassica seed

#4

Post: # 61229Unread post Tormato
Sat Jan 22, 2022 7:52 pm

Bower wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 6:00 pm I just read the reviews at Baker Creek... sounds like the real deal, even sprouting from the stump after seeming to be dead? :o
PM me a mailing address if you'd like any, or I may soon run out.

greenthumbomaha
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Re: cold tolerant lettuce and brassica seed

#5

Post: # 61248Unread post greenthumbomaha
Sat Jan 22, 2022 10:49 pm

Westlandse Winter Kale is supposed to be very hardy and potentially a good candidate to overwinter. I didn't see any info on how it performs in spring though.

- Lisa

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Re: cold tolerant lettuce and brassica seed

#6

Post: # 61306Unread post Bower
Sun Jan 23, 2022 2:15 pm

Overwintering is a great project for my mom's garden. I find they do best when planted later and go into winter as a medium sized plant.

Just seeing what is germinating when others are not, made me think of selecting a mix that I can plant in early spring at mom's. She hates row cover and doesn't want me to use it there at all. :roll:

I think eleven lettuces is a personal record for number of varieties started at once. I have a couple more and now I wish I'd started them all. :lol:

One thing that annoys me is lettuce mixes where they don't all grow at the same rate. The late ones are so much smaller and don't really make it into the first cut, and they struggle to compete with the faster ones. In the past I grew M de 4 S and Freckles together as a stripped down fast cut and come. (Although looking at lettuce descriptions I'm now not sure if it is Mde4S, which should be a butterhead but what I have is more of a soft or small ribbed romaine). I need some frilly lettuce or iceberg in the mix to give it more texture though. I grew Cocarde last year and I think it might qualify for a "fast mix" but it's an oak leaf so flat as a pancake. I found Grand Rapids and Black Seeded Simpson in the box, unsown. Should've tried both against "Green Ice" for the speed test.

Then there is lettuce that tastes better than the rest. I have two favorites so far: Sherwood and Red Iceberg. I used to think all lettuce tasted mainly the same, except for bitter or sweet, but these two are just plain tastier than other lettuce I've had. So I'm interested in trying more lettuces to see if there are more that stand out from the pack.
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Re: cold tolerant lettuce and brassica seed

#7

Post: # 61326Unread post Tormato
Sun Jan 23, 2022 5:27 pm

Which critters get the 11 course meal?

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Re: cold tolerant lettuce and brassica seed

#8

Post: # 61330Unread post Bower
Sun Jan 23, 2022 7:04 pm

Tormato wrote: Sun Jan 23, 2022 5:27 pm Which critters get the 11 course meal?
It's either me and Mom or the aphids.
I believe the last villain in the greenhouse has been crushed, but I don't know whether they decided to lay eggs when it got cold. :evil: I have a few Sugar Sprint plants out there, one of em has opened a blossom... really wanted midwinter peas but if I bring them indoors, will aphids hatch?
Hares and moose may be attracted to lights over lettuce in the window, but so far none has dared to break the glass.
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bjbebs
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Re: cold tolerant lettuce and brassica seed

#9

Post: # 61361Unread post bjbebs
Mon Jan 24, 2022 8:50 am

Have grown many of your current lettuce starts. Small romaine and butter heads do good for me, Little gem, Little caesar, Winter density. Sangria for a butterhead along with 2 Batavia types, Nevada and Sierra.
I'm doing a germ. test on old lettuce seed now. I have different light setups with varying temps. These will go under lights with pepper starts. A bit warmer than usual since this is old seed. Lettuce will get going March 1, into a hoop house and covered raised bed early April.
Yours will go into a heated greenhouse by Feb. 15?

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Re: cold tolerant lettuce and brassica seed

#10

Post: # 61371Unread post Bower
Mon Jan 24, 2022 11:48 am

@bjbebs Winter Density is new to me (thanks Lisa! :)) and looking forward to it. I don't think I've ever grown a Batavia type! But I should, I heard they are best in the hot days.

I'm in the same boat with old lettuce seed and brassicas too. Seems I grow some kind of seed every year but I missed the usual greens last time because I didn't do the usual winter thing - I was using the indoor space for another project. A lot of these seeds are from 2018 - kind of miffed to see my own seed from 4 years ago doing way better than lettuce seed I paid cash for in 2020. No joke it is worth it to grow your own.
So the reason for all the kinds is, in good part, the plan to refresh a bunch of lettuce seed. (and I poked some Black Seeded Simpson and Grand Rapids into the cells where Red Velvet didn't come, I guess they'll catch up with the others).

The densely sown brassicas in the first pic are three lots of Yu Choy seed from 2018, seed test which will doubtless get eaten as small baby greens since they're not looking too bad. A few yellow lines on cotyledons. Yu Choy is fast - 30 days more or less, and they like to be a bit crowded so ten or a dozen in a 12 inch pot, and get a couple of cuts from them fairly quick. Not huge at that density in 30 days but good to eat.

I don't heat the greenhouse, but it is attached and depending on the amount of sun received, it can warm up pretty early, at least now and then. There is a chard x sugar beet growing out there now and some kale, not bothered by weather or darkness (snow covered now). Any kind of greens can be overwintered there but they don't make new growth until the worst of winter is done.
The usual for winter greens is to get them started under my lights indoors, then pot up to suitable size. Shallow and more crowded stuff for cut and come, that is ready first and can live under the seed starting lights until tomato starting time. Others will go in deeper pots which can be put under an LED and grow medium to small-full sized lettuce or brassica. Bok Choy and small romaines do well in smaller containers, or I can use a larger pot and do a group where some are harvested first.

When Mom's is big enough, I bring them out in the pots for her unheated growing area (south facing window), so she can cut at will and keep them going with some water. My share may stay under the LED as long as it's happy to cut and come there, if not to the greenhouse however cold. But I will pick and eat leaves from the outside on these, so that the center stem can eventually bolt for my seed. Bumblebees are overjoyed to see any brassicas coming out early spring in flower. :) So I have to plan which type to save year to year, or they'll be all mixed up. Lettuce usually take a good bit longer, but they'll summer in the garden until I get seed. They'll stay in the greenhouse until there's green things growing outside. Anything put out too early will be quickly devoured by the beasts!
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Re: cold tolerant lettuce and brassica seed

#11

Post: # 61373Unread post Bower
Mon Jan 24, 2022 12:28 pm

Here are some pics from the greenhouse a couple of days ago. You can see how little direct sun is hitting the ground because of the angle and depth.
I had some big Napa cabbage and several more tubs of greens which had to be cut due to the aphids. Surprising amount of growth on the chard x in spite of the time of year - but we have not been snowcovered more than part of a day until this week. Unusual for us. Small cuts of the chard and kale every week or two since November.
january-22-peas-chardx-328.JPG
jan22-kaleish-333.JPG
jan22-morechardx-335.JPG
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