How To Grow Lettuce That Actually Has A Great Taste
Lettuce is an interesting crop and I find it usually does best if you
sow it directly in the garden.
If you start it early (directions below) then be careful when
transplanting or you’ll lose the starter plant. With their small roots
and large leaves they can lose a lot of moisture very quickly on a hot
day (particularly if you wreck their roots when transplanting.)
Onions, beets and lettuce
Sow seed outdoors one quarter inch deep, from as soon as you can get
onto the garden (late April) every week.
Sow approximately three seeds to the inch of row and thin them out as
they grow so that the mature lettuce has 8 to 12 inches of space.
Note the thinnings are perfect for eating! Successive plantings each
week will give you a regular amount of lettuce to harvest.
If you want to start them indoors, start your seed in individual cell
packs or peat pots approximately six weeks before you want to put them
into the garden.
Remember that you do not want to disturb the roots of these transplants
so space the seedlings well and thin to one per cell or jiffy pot. Keep
the seed warm for the first few days but once germinated, the plants
should be grown at no less than 60F.
Leaf lettuce is far easier to grow than head varieties and I'd
recommend it as a first effort. You'll always get useable leaves while
with the heads, sometimes things happen (like slugs or the head splits
etc) to wreck the crop.
Note that those perfect heads you see in the supermarket are often
hydroponically or greenhouse grown.
Leaf growing follows the same rules but the harvest is done by taking a
leaf or two from the outside of each plant. Do not pull up the plant
but allow it to keep producing new fresh leaves for harvest. Figure a
leaf a plant per week.
Once the heat of the summer hits, lettuce can go bitter particularly if
you water stress it. So, keep the water flowing and plan on a fall
sowing for fall harvests when the weather turns cool again.
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