Propagating lettuce

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Janet Ibbotson

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Propagating lettuce
« on: December 14, 2012, 08:25:05 PM »
OK so my next daft question is whether it is possible to find a propagator that will keep temperatures down to allow for germination of lettuce seeds in a Greek Summer?  Does anyone have any advice on growing lettuce during the hotter months?  I was planning a shaded cold frame for the plants once I got them started.  How do commercial growers manage it in Spain and Greece.
Janet Ibbotson
MGS Member currently based in Skopelos, Greece but also gardens in Norfolk

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JTh

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Re: Propagating lettuce
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2012, 12:01:56 AM »
I don't think I have seen lettuce very much during the hottest part of the summer where we are in Greece. I suppose you could try the more heat tolerant varieties, like Jericho romaine lettuce, which is said to be bred in Israel. Some kind of shade to protect them during the hottest part of the day would probably be useful, but the problem would be to keep the soil cool enough during the germination period, lettuce seeds don't like temperatures above 23-24 degrees C.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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Alisdair

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Re: Propagating lettuce
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2012, 10:42:20 AM »
As Jorun says lettuce seed won't normally germinate at temperatures much above 25 deg C. But you could try soaking the seed for a couple of hours in 3% hypochlorite bleach which has been claimed to reduce the high-temperature dormancy effect.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

David Bracey

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Re: Propagating lettuce
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2012, 04:32:18 PM »
The other way would be to sow "indoors" or somewhere cool and then bring on at your own speed finally transplanting outdoors, preferably with some shade and humidity. 
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 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.