'Mascara' is an Oak-Leaf Lettuce generally ready for harvest 65 days after sowing. This plant grows into a uniform dark red rosette. The color is retained even during the peak of summer when other varieties tend to fade. Bolt resistant. Start from seed 4 to 6 weeks before average last frost date. Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep in wide rows and thin to 8 to 12 inches apart. Thinned seedlings can be replanted. Keep soil moist but not soggy. Protect from rabbits and slugs. Extend the harvest season by planting successive crops. Summer heat causes lettuce to bolt. Pick outer leaves as they grow or harvest all at once. Harvesting when weather or day temperature is cooler will result in crisper leaves. Do not harvest lettuces until you are ready to use it.
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Conditions : Full to Partial Sun
Full sunlight is needed for many plants to assume their full potential. Many of these plants will do fine with a little less sunlight, although they may not flower as heavily or their foliage as vibrant. Areas on the southern and western sides of buildings usually are the sunniest. The only exception is when houses or buildings are so close together, shadows are cast from neighboring properties. Full sun usually means 6 or more hours of direct unobstructed sunlight on a sunny day. Partial sun receives less than 6 hours of sun, but more than 3 hours. Plants able to take full sun in some climates may only be able to tolerate part sun in other climates. Know the culture of the plant before you buy and plant it!
Conditions : Normal Watering for Outdoor Plants
Normal watering means that soil should be kept evenly moist and watered regularly, as conditions require. Most plants like 1 inch of water a week during the growing season, but take care not to over water. The first two years after a plant is installed, regular watering is important for establishment. The first year is critical. It is better to water once a week and water deeply, than to water frequently for a few minutes.
How-to : Preparing Garden Beds
Use a soil testing kit to determine the acidity or alkalinity of the soil before beginning any garden bed preparation. This will help you determine which plants are best suited for your site. Check soil drainage and correct drainage where standing water remains. Clear weeds and debris from planting areas and continue to remove weeds as soon as they come up.
A week to 10 days before planting, add 2 to 4 inches of aged manure or compost and work into the planting site to improve fertility and increase water retention and drainage. If soil composition is weak, a layer of topsoil should be considered as well. No matter if your soil is sand or clay, it can be improved by adding the same thing: organic matter. The more, the better; work deep into the soil. Prepare beds to an 18 inch deep for perennials. This will seem like a tremendous amount of work now, but will greatly pay off later. Besides, this is not something that is easily done later, once plants have been established.
Pest : Slugs and Snails
Begin looking for slugs and snails so that you may set traps.
Glossary : Annual
An annual is any plant that completes its life cycle in one growing season.
Glossary : Edibles
An edible is a plant that has a part or all of it that can be safely consumed in some way.