I went out to the garden the other day to check out the beds that were planted last fall.
We had planted three beds, one bed of a leaf lettuce mix, one of spinach, and one bed of Bibb lettuce.
The Bibb lettuce had a heat coil buried to keep the soil warm. I fully expected that bed to be alive, and it was.
What surprised me was discovering that the other two beds were alive as well. They had nothing more than a plastic covering to protect them from the winter cold. It got down to at least -19F at this garden location.
It was the snow cover that we had this winter that made the difference! Under a foot of snow that was piled on top of the bed covers, the lettuce and spinach were still alive and waiting for a little warmer weather to start growing again.
You may want to think about making your own bed cover to get an early crop of lettuce this spring. A bed cover placed over a garden bed can start to warm the soil. You can start some lettuce plants inside then gradually let them get used to the cooler outside temperatures. Put them in a bright yet cool location (40’s to 50’s) for several days, then move them into your outdoor covered bed to get a real early crop of lettuce.
Keep in mind that your lettuce that you grow in that bed will be better than anything you will find in the store. Check the prices at “Whole Foods” or some other high quality produce department to get an idea of what you might have to pay for lettuce that only begins to approach the quality you will be harvesting!
Once your bed cover is made, you can use it next fall to extend the growing season.