Lettuce is a great vegetable to grow in the garden because it will keep producing throughout the season. These tips on how to grow lettuce will help to plant, care for, and harvest lettuce.
There are so many reasons to grow lettuce. First of all, it comes in dozens of different varieties. Second, it can be planted just about anywhere, including in containers or right in your own flower beds. And third, you get so much bang for your buck. A small investment will grow you full lettuce heads that will produce for you all season long. Want to know more about this easy to grow green? Look below at some helpful tips on how to grow lettuce, and see if you shouldn’t add some to your garden this year!
How to Grow Lettuce
Lettuce can be started in two ways, either from seed or from seedlings. The method you choose will depend on a few things, such as how long your growing season is and how soon you wish to harvest it. If you are in a time crunch, opt for seedlings. Should you have more time to spare and want to take a more budget-friendly approach, then seeds it is. Once outside temps reach and stay at 50 degrees or higher, you are ready to plant.
How to plant lettuce:
Before planting either seed or seedlings, choose a nutrient-rich soil and add a nitrogen additive if need be. Lettuce plants need nitrogen in the soil, and many commercial feeds will offer this option. While lettuce plants do like the sun, they don’t need full sun. As long as they have well-draining soil in a full to moderate sunny space, they should thrive.
Once you choose your space, planting either seeds or seedlings is simple. Seedlings can be planted about 2 inches deep and spaced about 5-6 inches from fellow seedlings. Lettuce can withstand some crowding especially if you will be harvesting from the plants regularly. Should you be planting from seeds, you can plant seeds about 2 inches deep and you only need to space 2-3 inches apart. Once sprouting occurs, you can thin out underperforming seedlings so that your heads of lettuce are spaced about 5-6 inches apart.
How to plant lettuce in containers:
If you choose to do a container garden for your lettuce, feel free to have fun with it and mix several different varieties. Don’t worry about crowding, as you can plant your seedlings or seeds within inches of each other. Since you will be harvesting often, the plants will have room to grow.
If planting in a container, follow the same rules on nitrogen-rich soil that drains well. Opt for a sunny space that gets a good 6 hours of sunlight per day.
How to care for lettuce seedlings:
To enjoy tender lettuce, you want to water frequently. Lettuce will enjoy 2-3 inches of water per week. Help keep the moisture in by applying mulch around the base of the plants. This will help protect the roots, keep them cool, and hold that water in where it belongs.
Should you notice an issue with pests such as aphids, there are a few solutions. You can use an over the counter pest repellent, just make sure it is food safe. Or, you can release ladybugs in the garden, as they tend to eat the aphids that would love to eat your lettuce!
Overall your lettuce plants will be low maintenance. You can water as instructed, carefully weed around the plants, use a liquid plant food, and watch for pests.
How to harvest lettuce:
In about 50 days, your lettuce should be ready to harvest. When you are ready to pick some of the greens, remove them from the outside of the plant as those are the most mature. For salads where tender greens are in order, you can pick younger baby greens. Simply snip the greens from the plant. Don’t rip and never pull as you could disrupt the roots or damage the plant.
Store your lettuce in a cool and dry place until you are ready to enjoy. Avoid washing your lettuce until you are ready to use it, as the water could cause it to break down and wilt faster.
Are you ready to get growing some lettuce? Choose from the many varieties available and see how fun it can be to grow your own lettuce right in the backyard!