Monday, January 28, 2013

Growing Lettuce from Seed

Lettuce is a leafy vegetable that is grown annually in outdoor gardens, or containers.  Lettuce is mostly used for salads or as a garnish for a sandwich.  This nutritious vegetable is rich in vitamin A and potassium.   Lettuce can be grown indoors, outdoors in a garden bed or in a container.  If you plan on growing lettuce outdoors then provide your lettuce with a minimum of six hours of sun.

Instructions for Growing Lettuce

When to plant:

Plant lettuce in the spring; mid March for seeds and if you intend to grow seeds indoors and transplant outdoors then plant the seedlings in early April.  For your fall lettuce crop plant mid to late August for bib lettuce and July to August for romaine lettuce.

Sowing Seeds:

Plant lettuce seeds by sowing them in a prepared garden bed.  Set the seed on the soil and then use the eraser end of a pencil to push the seed ¼ inches into the soil.  Plant the seeds 15 inches apart.  Water well after all the seeds has been planted. 

Transplanting Seedlings:

Grow lettuce seedlings in rows in the garden bed; dig a hole that is as deep as the root.  Set the seedling in the hole and cover the root ball with dirt. Firm the soil around the stem.  Space the lettuce seedling 15 inches apart and water well.

Caring for Lettuce:

Keep newly planted lettuce seeds and transplants hydrated.  Do not let the soil dry out as it will cause stress on the plant.  It is best to keep the soil evenly moist by not wet.  Water lettuce plants in the morning.  Warning if you have heavy soil and over water the lettuce then it will rot. 

Harvesting Lettuce

Harvest the lettuce leaves in the morning before the sun is high in the sky.  I like to cut the lettuce heads early in the morning at the soil level.  I will harvest lettuce when the dew is still on the leaves.  I like to believe that this is when the lettuce is not under stress and the leaves have the best flavor.

For leaf lettuce I will cut off large leaves and leave the lettuce head intact.  That way it will continue to grow.  

Wash the lettuce to remove the dirt from the leaves.  If the leaves are damaged then remove these leaves from the head after the leaves are clean put in an air tight container and refrigerator before the leaves wilt.

Lettuce container garden
Lettuce Tips:

Type: Annual
Planting Depth: 1/4"
Thin to: 4"
Light: Sun
Days to germination: 10-15
Maturity: 45-50 Days

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