Easy to plant, quick to grow, and simple to harvest, lettuce is a fantastic addition to any home vegetable garden.
Plus, there are hundreds of varieties of lettuce you can grow. And with cut-and-come-again varieties, you get a big yield from a small amount of effort and seeds. Whether you are looking to grow sweet and tender butterhead lettuce with its a laidback waviness or crisp, tight-knit heads of iceberg, here are some gardening tips to get your lettuce from seed to salad bowl.
When to Plant Lettuce
The cooler weather of spring and fall provides the perfect conditions for growing lettuce. Plant fall lettuce four to eight weeks before the first frost. You can also begin planting lettuce as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. If you plant lettuce in successive plantings, with 10 to 14 days in between, you’ll have an extended harvest.
Where to Plant Lettuce
The ideal lettuce growing location for spring and fall is in loose, cool soil with good drainage in a spot that receives full sun. Lettuce is shallow-rooted and it doesn’t need a lot of room, which makes it a great option for in-ground gardening, raised garden beds, and containers.
How to Plant Lettuce
You can plant lettuce seeds directly into the soil. Simply sprinkle lettuce seeds where desired, cover with a light layer of soil, and gently tamp it down. Lettuce seeds are quite small and only require a planting depth of 1/4- to 1/2-inch deep. Lettuce spacing is not an exact science, but most varieties tend to do best with spacing between 10 and 18 inches. Generally, you should space plants far enough apart so that they can grow to full size.
How to Grow Lettuce
Because you want to encourage leaf growth over root growth, lettuce watering should be light, frequent, and consistent. The goal is to simply keep the soil moist. In addition, regular feedings will encourage the best growth from your lettuce. You can promote excellent leaf production by regularly feeding your lettuce plants with nitrogen-rich H-G Plant Food.
Most lettuce can be harvested between 30 to 70 days after planting. When to harvest lettuce depends on the variety and what it will be used for. Really, timing is based on individual preference. Once your lettuce reaches the size you want, it’s ready!
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