Grow It!, Kath's Gardening Notebook
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Grow Your Own Greens & Lettuce

Growing your own lettuce and greens has many advantages! Not only are they easy to grow, but can be grown in small spaces too! Best of all, they grow quickly and are mostly disease and pest resistant.

Greens and lettuce are also the best vegetables to grow in containers. Because their root systems are not very big, they’re happy to live in containers on your deck or patio. Whether you plant your seeds in a pretty pot or an old wooden crate, it need not be very deep. Eight to 12 inches is ideal!

Not sure what kind of lettuce to grow? There’s a huge choice of seeds at your local nursery or garden store. The dark green and red varieties pack the best nutrition and look great in the garden or pot. Leaf lettuces don’t actually form a “head” but grow with a loose leaf which lets you pick the outer leaves when they reach the size you want. These varieties have a huge popularity because you can pick just what you need for a single salad, to garnish your recipes or for use in a family salad.

Home Sweet Home

  • After you’ve decided on their home, get some good organic potting soil and moisten the soil thoroughly.
  • Lettuce seeds are very small so sprinkle them evenly over the soil.
  • Cover with just a ¼ inch of dry soil and lightly mist with a spray bottle so your seeds don’t all swim to the middle of your container.

Remember: for proper germination, never let the soil dry out. Keep it moist, but not soggy.

Ground It

  • If planting directly into the garden, around 2 weeks before last frost, plant seeds in full sun or partial shade ¼ to ½ inch deep and 2 inches apart in fertile well draining soil.
  • When seedlings start to sprout, thin seedlings to 12 inches apart. Because your seedling are so small right now, this may seem like a lot of space between plants. In a few weeks they’ll be hugging each other. Lettuce likes even-moisture and moderate temperatures. A short period of dry soil won’t kill your plants, but it might make them bitter. Always keep soil evenly moist.

Bolting for the Sun

Some head lettuce varieties such as romaine may begin to bolt by mid-July. This can be caused by hot temperatures and un-even watering. You’ll notice a flowery stalk coming straight up the center of the plant. This will stop leaf growth and your leaves will take on a pale color. Immediately cut the stalk and wait a day or so to harvest your plant.

How Often Do I Plant New Seeds?

I like to plant new seeds every two or three weeks. Succession planting ensures that you’ll have fresh, nutrient-dense greens all summer long. And, because lettuce is a cool season crop, keep planting those seeds into the fall season until they tell you that they’ve had enough!

Happy planting!


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