Lettuce is another easy vegie to start growing with, it’s also extremely handy and satisying to be able to pick a few leaves each day to go with dinner. You can grow lettuce year round and they also do really well in pots.
- Lettuce likes well drained soil with lots of organic matter. They need to be grown quickly so the leaves are sweet and tasty – not bitter.
- You can sow them in rows or in between other plants.
- It’s sometimes better to start your seeds in punnets or trays – you can sow directly into your garden bed but sometimes slugs and snails get to young seedlings before they have a chance to establish. Plant them out when they are big enough – 3-4 leaves.
- If you are sowing your seeds directly into your garden bed just cover them gently or press them gently into the soil, and water gently too. The seeds are small and can be washed away easily.
- You can feed them every few weeks with a fish emulsion or seaweed based liquid fertiliser if you wish too.
- If you are growing a ‘loose-leaf’ variety – harvest leaves from the outside in anytime from around 6 weeks, if you are growing a hearting type, harvest the whole plant when it has a firm, solid head – around 11-12 weeks depending on type.
- Wash and enjoy!
You can start seeds earlier indoors and transplant them when warm enough if you are in a cooler climate.
Lettuce don’t grow as well in extremely hot areas, they need shade from hot afternoon sun. Even if you are in a cool area you may need to provide some protection.
Lettuce tend to bolt and go to seed if it’s very hot – afernoon shade will help along with mulching them well, keeping them watered and picking leaves from the outside.
They have shallow roots so you need to be careful not to damage them when working in around your lettuces. Because their roots are so shallow keep them well watered so the top layer of soil is moist. Like a lot of other plants it’s best to water them early in the morning so their leaves are dry at night.
Sow a few seeds every couple of weeks so you have a continuous supply of crispy, fresh lettuce.