Tag Archives: lettuce

Moncton, NB Winter Growing Conference

I was super lucky to be asked to present at a 2 day winter growing conference in Moncton, New Brunswick earlier this week. Just where is Moncton?

One thing that was notable about the trip was the amount of snow they get. Even though they are in a similar growing zone (4b), they had between 4-5 ft of snow on the ground when I got there.

They asked me to do 3 talks, the first one on Greenhouse structures, prep, and soils. One interesting thing I learned is while we orient our houses for maximum sun exposure (east-west), they also have to worry about heading the houses into prevailing wind so that the wind blows the snow off the houses.

ACORN Tunnels

The second talk I gave was on succesion planting and profitability. Although we have run numbers on what crops make us per acre(return per year((RPY)), we don’t have numbers on return per week(RPW) of growing season. This is much more important when you are dealing with tunnels and every day needs to be making you money. Adam Montri of MSU did a talk on this this winter and I’m including the slides here as a resource.

ACORN succession planting

Economics of High Tunnel Production Adam Montri

The last talk I did, which was preceded by a delicious, locally sourced dinner, was on how we do season extension on the farm. This talk was open to those in the community and I tried to share how many of the principles could be done on a smaller, even garden scale.

ACORN SEASON EXTENSION

Throughout the day between sessions, there was great conversation had by all. I picked up some tips and tricks that other growers are using and can’t wait to impliment them this year on the farm.

November Lettuce

We’re still harvesting lettuce here on the farm, from the field. We use a combination of row covers and hardy varieties to achieve this, also specific planting dates. 

We pick varieties that listed as hardy such as Panisse, Nevada, Cherokee, Sulu, and Garrison. We start the transplants the beginning of August and transplant out a month latter.  Salad mix, which is also transplanted, is seeded up till the 20th of August. We try to plant on raised beds, as that  keeps the plants dryer and warmer. We don’t cover the lettuce until serious frost, 30 degrees or under, is forecasted. We will add a second cover when temperatures dip under 25 and a third when it hits the teens. 

Here’s a closeup of Sulu and Garrison which we like for saladmix.  Sulu we are especially happy with- it grows well, stays disease free, and is very crisp. We plant 4 rows on the bed 14 inches apart, with in row spacing of 4-6 inches. Head lettuce is transplanted 8″ apart in row. We hoop with special 96″ hoops, which make sure that they are wide enough to cover the entire bed. The hoops are spaced about 6′ apart.

Here’s a closeup of a new Salanova variety from Europe just introduced into this country. We did a trial for a seed company and this is one that ended up staying in the field. Even with no row cover, it survived 19 degrees multiple nights. Still tastes and looks Great!!!  Needless to say, we’re pretty impressed.