Gardeners can select from many types of lettuces that are easy to grow, highly productive in a small space, and virtually disease and pest free. Lettuce is one of the more “care-free” crops. There are a few key principles though that should always be kept in mind.
What Need for Lettuce Gardening?
For good lettuce production, it’s wise to select a place where the soil drains well, yet retains some moisture. The soil should be rich in nitrogen and potassium. The best way to make this soil condition you should make an organic mixture using compost, rotted manure, or leaf mold and that will loosen and enrich the soil.
Most of the lettuce varieties mature in 45 to 55 days, so you can gardening plants two or even three crops. But looseleaf and butterhead leaves can be harvested at just about any time in their development. Heading varieties take longer to mature.
By choosing the right varieties and with these lettuce gardening tips, it’s possible to have lettuce in your garden throughout the growing season. This lettuce is great for salads throughout the growing season. There really is nothing better than a fresh Caesar salad with fresh romaine from the garden!
More Lettuce Gardening Tips
Lettuce is so easy to grow it can be started indoors for early transplants or sown directly in the garden. Otherwise, doing both is recommended to get a good production. Lettuce seeds are super tiny, so it is recommended to use generous amounts when planting.
Romaine Lettuce Gardening
Start some lettuce seeds indoors in peat pots a few weeks before the last frost date in your area. Provide the seedlings with plenty of sunlight or keep them under artificial lighting until ready to move into the garden. Transplant the seedlings as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. If a hard freeze effect, hurry to protect the seedlings with a cloche or row cover. Reserve several lettuce seedlings to fill empty spaces in the garden as the season progresses.
To sow lettuce directly in the garden, simply plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep, tamp them down, and water. It’s that simple! Space the sowings according to packet directions that are based on the size of the mature lettuce.
Keep in mind that lettuce seeds won’t germinate in soil that is 80 degrees F or warmer, so there’s no sense in sowing directly in the garden in the summer. The better way to start heat-tolerant varieties indoors and moving the lettuce seedlings into the garden, preferably under partial shade, after they’ve developed a few true leaves.
Here are two cultivation tips to keep in mind:
Lettuce is ideal for succession planting. Disseminate seeds every two weeks for production throughout the season, starting with early lettuce varieties, using heat-tolerant varieties as your main crop, and then switching to fall crops late in the summer. If you prefer, use lettuce in successions with other crops.
The key point to good lettuce production is supplying moderate but almost constant water, especially during the summer. Otherwise, there is a regular rainfall, lettuce must be watered excessively at least once a week- more constantly during periods of drought. To keep soil moisture, you can add mulch with a layer of compost or clean straw. A drip-irrigation system is ideal.
To improve overall lettuce production, consider using the following four techniques.
To boost lettuce production, plant seeds in raised beds. The raised beds warm up better than the ground. If you start in the early spring and a later crop in the fall. Raised bed gardening is, without a doubt, the best way to garden anything out there. Its simplicity, organization, incredible fertility, and results are astounding.
If you have limited garden space, plant lettuce around taller plants like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peppers, and eggplants. This helps the lettuce grow a lot better, if they are left in the beating sun without moisture, they will not be able to survive. The lettuce helps other plants by keeping the surrounding soil moist and cool. And also it keeps weeds shaded out.
You can also start lettuce seedlings indoors for filling vacancies in the garden in late spring and again in early fall as other crops are harvested. Simply ‘tuck’ a seedling in the free space to keep every inch of garden space in a certain production.
Insects and Diseases
Lettuce is usually disease and pest free, but you should keep eyes on them.
Cutworms and slugs are the most bothersome pests. You can use a paper collar around young lettuce seedlings to keep the ravenous caterpillars at bay. Slugs are tougher to control. Sprinkle wood ashes or diatomaceous earth over the soil around the plants to discourage the nasty mollusks. Be sure to reapply after each rainfall.
A major threat is lettuce rot which first attacks the lower leaves in contact with the soil and then spreads throughout the plant.
With these lettuce gardening tips, you can stop this. The best way to prevent fungal and bacterial diseases is to rotate crops. Keep this in your mind. You can’t use the same bed for lettuce two years in a row.
Raised Bed of Lettuce
Perhaps the greatest threat to lettuce growing is deer. If there is no protection or netting over these lettuce plants, I can assure you that the deer will have a salad bar feast and everything will be gone. I especially recommend the plastic raised beds with pre-made nets from gardeners. These are what I use for my garden. These lettuce gardening tips will save you a ton of time that I had to learn by experience.
Lettuce Harvesting Tips
Lettuce can be harvested any time after true leaves, and it is better to have early stages. If you keep longer, they will be bitter and tough. And also harvest them in the morning because at that time leaves are crispy.