Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How to get Lettuce and Spinach to Germinate in the Summer

Lettuce Bed are very difficult to germinate in the summer. Find out how to here! Photo: Reed Petersen
I have had many people tell me they have tried to start a second crop of lettuce or spinach in the hot summer soils of June, July and August. But have had a crop failure.

What happens is the seeds go dormant in the soil temps above 85 degrees and only a few seeds or no seeds germinate.

Here is a solution...

  1. Use fresh seed. Especially lettuce seeds. The better germination and the fresher the seed. The better will be your summer time results.
  2. On a large scale we hydro-cool the soil for two days. We plant lettuce and spinach in the evening and for two days during the sunny part of the day turn a sprinkler on. You are not watering, you are cooling. So don't over due to water. If you had a cool mist that would be best. I just use a standard sprinkler head. Typically I turn the water on from about 9 AM to 6 PM. After the second day and third night the seeds have germinated and you can stop watering.
  3. If you happen to hit a rainy day, great, you won't have to water that day. I have planted several times in the last couple of weeks, during our rainy sessions and not watered at all.

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