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How to grow your own lettuce23 February 2018
Food just tastes a whole lot better with fresh ingredients. Freshly picked vegetables right from the garden can introduce a zest to your food like nothing else can. Speaking of greens you can grow on your own, lettuce is by far one of the easiest to grow vegetables you can have in your garden or even a pot. With minimal care, you can be eating fresh lettuce all year round. You do have to do a bit of preparation though. Before planting lettuce, it’s helpful if your soil is enriched with organic matter so you don’t have to worry about the yield.
Preparing your soil for lettuce
Before moving on to plantation, add organic matter to the soil. For even distribution of the organic matter, it’s best if you carry out raking to break down bigger lumps for widespread coverage. Once you’ve fertilized the soil, you can start sowing the seeds about a centimetre deep. You can also bypass the seed germination process by planting plugs of lettuce that are easily available in the market. Just to be on the safe side, you can use a combination of the two. By sowing seeds and plugs together, you can harvest the fully grown plugs within a month, and the seeds a few weeks later.
Planting lettuce seeds in a pot
If you are sowing seeds, keep them at least a quarter of an inch apart. You can use a small lettuce seed packet on a 100 foot row to harvest about 50 pounds of lettuce! Select your lettuce of choice and make three small sowing with a weekly interval. Make sure that you don’t overfill your pot with soil, leave about an inch of empty space between soil surface and the rim of the pot. Sprinkle the small seeds across the soil surface without letting too many seeds pile up in any one spot. Then, cover the seeds with a quarter inch of additional soil on top.
Make sure you don’t add more soil than that or else, the seeds may not receive adequate lighting for germination. Moisten the soil with a spray bottle, without soaking it. Make sure you lightly water the seeds every morning, since lettuce thrives in moist soil conditions. A good way to check if the lettuce seedlings need water is to sink your finger in the soil about half an inch deep, if it feels dry down there, it’s time to start watering.
Lettuce care and harvest
Ideally, the room temperature of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit is just right for your lettuce seedling. They also need around 14 to 16 hours of light to produce those wide, crunchy leaves so place the pot in the sunniest spot of the house. Some indoor growers go for the fluorescent light option if they are unable to provide the plant with enough natural light. The good thing about having lettuce plants is that you can harvest the loose leaf as you need it and they taste just as good as mature leaves! You can start harvesting the outer leaves as soon as their size is to your preference but leave the inner leaves alone so they can develop. If you want to harvest only fully mature lettuce heads, you will have to wait between 4 to 6 weeks.