I waited too late to start my lettuce and only got a few smallish heads of buttercrunch. I did let one grow and what I think are seeds are developing on the top, I need to know if these are seeds and how can I collect them for next years seed and when are they ready to collect?
I have almost the same thing happening to my butter/bibb lettuce. Pretty yellow flowers in the early morning hours? The bottom leaves are still good eating but the tops are very bitter. I'm going to try to get some seeds, we have pleanty of bees in my back yard. Please update if you have any luck actually getting seeds from yours.
A side note: My greenleaf lettuce is still doing well and haven't encountered the bitter taste problem with it...it was labled as 'grand rapids' yeah, I know, Michigan or Minnesota somewhere far from zones 8 and 9. I know this isn't any help but I am interested if you manage to get good seeds off that plant.
Most lettuces are super easy to collect seeds from. Let if flower, wait till seed pod dries. Cut it off, and put it in a covered paper bowl in the shed for a week. Split it open and you get TONS of seeds. The cut and come again varieties I grow usually produce off-white seed.
Honeybee: what sort of variety lettuce? Blue flowers sounds really cool. Right now we have a few cilantro that are about three feet tall and soooo many great white flowers on it- sorta like baby's breath. I'm at the point where it's "hell, let them bolt, they make good plants to look at as well as eat."
And thanks again to various folks on collecting the seed.
Neworleansdude - Sorry, I don't know which lettuce produced the blue flowers. I purchased one of those mixed salad packets. As it turned out, the only one I really liked to eat from the "mix" was Arugula (Rocket). This year, Arugula is the only lettuce I have planted.
Lettuce is a great beginner seed saver plant. Keep in mind that there is some cross pollination between lettuce varieties if they are flowering at the same time. Here at Seedy Farm we separate out lettuce varieties by 25 feet. If your garden is too small, consider choosing one variety to let go to seed each year. Also, save seeds from the healthiest plants. If you feel that your lettuce plants were not full grown, were off-type, or bolted early, the seed will not be mature enough to grow healthy plants the next year. Here is a picture of our Black Seeded Simpson lettuce bolting so you can see how large the plants get (about 3 feet). Stay seedy!
This last week I've been cutting the tops off, just whole rather than hand picking some of the seeds like I did at first and they are drying in the shed now. From first inspection looks I should have hundreds of (hopefully) viable ones.
I planted a few redsails and wild fire mix in march. I've never planted leaf lettuce before. I was real happy with the colors and taste. Hey I share with the neighbors. Some of the plants are starting to bolt up but then lay over, but get longer. Should I try to collect any seeds for this fall or buy something at the local feed and seed? Thanks!
Crazyfish: I'm not sure, hopefully someone with more knowledge can add to this, but I'd think for any sort of lettuce in P-cola you should start them inside in January and the move them outside by the end of Feb.? From what I've read all of us in the Gulf Coast south of i-10 should plant lettuce in the fall or winter. This is my first year doing it, and I know different varities can tollerate more or less heat. I did Grand Rapids Green Leaf and some sort of Butter/Bibb. They were outside before Mardi Gras and the best harvests were in early April.
Then again, I have a friend of a friend that I went over to her place a month ago and she had some really great redleaf stuff going on that wasn't even starting to bolt. Growing it in a container about (it was oval so...) 3ftx1 1/2 and 1 1/2 deep.
I'm saving as many of my seeds as I can and am thinking about doing a planting in October.
I don't know if this is of any use, but I know we have basically the same zone. Execpt ya'll get colder in the winter and we get hotter in the summer.
I'd say save any seeds you can, and plant them when it's cooler. It doesn't take that much time to save seeds, and then you can always grow again or trade with other folks.
crazyfish, yes, go ahead and save some seeds of your Red Sails. (That's a good OP variety that is great for your warmer area.) I'd wait until you see the seeds start to darken up so you know they are mature, and keep an eye on the birds...they'll know when they are ready, too.
Here in Brooklyn NY, we had a very mild rainy winter of 11-12, despite some weather weird-ing ie the October Blizzard.
We only had about three low temperatute cold snaps, still I was suprised at the things that overwintered - oregano, thyme, and cilantro.
The cilantro plant grew about 31/2 feet high. Yes the cilantro flowers do look like baby' s breath!
From what I read, lettuce is LESS prone to cross-polination trhan most plants, even when grown close together.
"The structure of the lettuce flower encourages self-pollination ..."
>> there is some cross pollination between lettuce varieties ...
I wonder if you are concerned about producing very pure batchs of seed to sell, or perpetuate one variety pure for many years? Is your Seedy Farms the one in Hudson Valley?
My guess is that, if a home gardener just wants a tablespoonful of seed to plant for the next few years, and would not be very bothered by thinning out or tasting the 5-10% "off" lettuce plants that were cross-pollinated, not worrying about separation distances might be practical. Would you agree?
Or is lettuce more like Zinnias, that seem to delight in sneaking around at night from bed to bed, cross-pollinating everything in sight?