Lettuce is probably one of the easiest vegetables to grow. Because it takes so little room it is a great candidate for container or balcony gardening. I plant mine in rows right in the garden because I have the room to do so.
There are several varieties of lettuce to choose from. Decide if you want to plant a loose-leaf lettuce, a loose-head lettuce like butterheads, crispheads like icebergs which have a firm crisp head or a Romain lettuce with long pointed leaves and a pale, firm head.They are all wonderful, it’s just a personal choice.
You can buy young starter plants if you want, but because lettuce grows so easy from seed that’s what I prefer to do. Not only is it cheaper but it saves me the step of having to transplant the seedlings.
Grow your lettuce in a good soil rich in organic matter and place in sun, partial shade or shade depending on your climate. Sow a couple of seeds together about a half inch deep and space according to the type of lettuce you are growing. This information is always given on the seed package. Start your lettuce early in the season as it is a cool weather crop. If you live in a hot climate, sow only in the spring and fall. Other areas can continue to sow in 2 week intervals for a continual supply of fresh lettuce.
You can pick lettuce leaves when they are small and tender or leave them to mature. The best time of day to harvest is in the early morning when the leaves are full of moisture. Harvest head lettuce when the heads feel firm to the touch by cutting off at the base of the plant. Pick your leaf lettuce regularly or it will bolt, which means it will grow tall, go to seed and get bitter.
Grow Lettuce in a Hanging Basket or Container
If space is tight try growing your leaf lettuce in a hanging basket or a container protected in the shade of a tree, or on your deck or patio. Any decorative hanging container or planter will do. Fill with good soil and make sure there is adequate drainage. If planting in a hanging basket let the plants grow and harden off a bit before hanging up so they will be able to withstand a little wind. Be sure to keep well watered.
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