Lettuce begin the season

Today planted four varieties of lettuce in covered beds on the rooftop, all of them started under lights in my basement January 3. After years of sowing all lettuce in cell trays, either 96 or 128 cells, I have now gone to flats with four rows of seeds (usually four different varieties), and then as soon as the weather warms up, I’ll just sow the rows in nursery beds and keep a continuous bank of transplantable lettuces around all season. Right now, though, I’d get nothing outdoors, so under lights they go. One of the first things I learned as an apprentice back on Trauger Groh’s Temple Wilton Community Farm in West Wilton, NH was that lettuce can take quite a beating when getting transplanted and still come out very nicely. So basically I take a narrow trowel, lift out a whole row (today corresponding to a whole variety), tease apart the individual plants (striving for a little soil around the roots but not worrying if they are bare root), and plop them in with a good-luck pat on the soil for good root contact.
Today Flashy Trout Back, Outredgeous, Sulu, and Annapolis went in. Sulu’s the newbie (from Johnny’s), and all the others are proven staples of the rooftop garden.
Also working on seed orders, and today I filled out the Nichols order form. Though I order the lion’s share of seed from Johnny’s in Maine and Territorial here in Oregon, I still comb through some of the smaller catalogs for the unusual finds. The Nichols’s proprietress, Rosemarie Nichols McGee, seems to relish the non-commercial offerings, so this catalog is always a gem. I’m going to try some columnar basil (sold as plant) and also some “Mojito” mint (for the obvious connection with the Noble Rot bar). Also looking forward to “Redventure” celery, which I believe is a Frank Morton contribution (deep talent pool here in Oregon as regards seeds). It should do well with the slightly wet feet that the raised beds afford.
Last week’s arugula seeding in the covered bed sprouted already, but the Ruby Streaks mustard right adjacent to it still hadn’t poked through. The sprouting was mostly due to a warm spell to which the Oregonian’s weather page alerted me. Now we’re back into a little colder period, so I think those lettuces will be pokey for a bit until the sun comes to kiss them.
Forgot the camera today, but next time I’m up there I’ll get some photos so you’ve got some visuals.