Ask Gramps

Have a gardening question for Gramps?  Post in the comment section below.


  1. how do I get lettuce to form heads as it seems to want to grow upwards as though going to seed. is there such a thing as pinning the top to gather to form head??

  2. There are a number of things that can cause this "bolting" as it is known. I think primarily it is because of too much heat and the plant wants to go to seed too quickly. Lettuce is a cool weather plant so perhaps some shade would help a bit. In addition, being a "green leaf" crop, you need lots of nitrogen in the soil to promote leaf growth rather than stem and seed growth. You didn't mention the variety of lettuce you are growing and that makes me wonder if it is suited for your local area growing conditions.
    I guess you read my posting on growing lettuce IN ARIZONA - commercially. Well, something I might not have made clear is in the Yuma County area where summer heat is high, the growers switch to crops like melons and other heat loving crops until the temperature drops in the fall, at which time they go back to growing lettuce by the square mile.
    I hope this helps.

  3. Hi gramps,

    Read about your 6mil poly greenhouse. Where are you located? I am thinking about incorporating a DIY hoop greenhouse in our 1st raised bed vegetable garden in SW Ontario, Canada. Nice looking vegetables!

    1. Hello Peter
      Nice to hear from you. I have not been very active on these pages for a while but now spring is here I may have to jump back in.
      I am located in Duncan, B.C. (Vancouver Island)
      For a start, I would ask - what type of hoop? Not the plastic pipe type of construction, I hope. I have seen too many of those that just collapse under a bit of snow - and I think you DO get a bit of that white stuff don't you? hahaha... Of course it depends on how big of a shelter you want/need...
      I was not impressed with using the 6 mil poly on the roof of my greenhouse as it deteriorated too quickly where it laid on the rafters (concentrated sunburn, I think) so I replaced it with clear corrugated plastic sheets and am very please with the results.
      I think you would do well to contact Telsing Andrews of Kinburn ON
      which is not too far from Arnprior. She is a very dedicated gardener and I am sure she would have lots of good advice for you.
      Location: 613-804-0212
      3348 Hunt Line Rd Kinburn ON K0A 2H0
      I hope this helps, and if you contact Telsing, give her my regards.
      If there is anything further in the way of questions, fire away and I will do my best to answer them.