What’s a salad without the lettuce? Most people find lettuce a useful and hardy crop. It’s easy to grow and maintain and can be planted multiple times in the growing season. Any garden should include lettuce. Whether leaf, butter-head , romaine or crisp-head, there’s a variety to appeal to every taste. Want to know how to grow great lettuce? Here’s five tips that may help.
1. Plant lettuce early and late. Lettuce can be planted up to 4 weeks before the last frost. This is one of the earliest planting times of any vegetable. Planting early gives you the opportunity of re-planting for continuous harvests during the growing season. You can also re-plant lettuce once you pick it. It survives up until late fall and loves the crisp air.
2. Lettuce needs less sunlight. Lettuce needs only five hours of sunlight daily. Most vegetables need six or more. Lettuce can be planted in areas of indirect sunlight. When you must plant lettuce in full sun, shade it from direct sunlight. You can do this with cheesecloth or a shade made especially for this purpose.
3. Fertilize lettuce just once. Lettuce doesn’t need repeat applications of fertilizer. Apply fertilizer when you initially plant lettuce. That should be the only fertilizer you need for the entire growth of your lettuce plants. Lettuce just isn’t that hungry and can wilt and rot when overfed.
4. Keep soil moist. Lettuce does prefer moisture to dry soil. It may be tempting to over-water lettuce. You will notice leaves wilting when soil is dry and may try to overcompensate. Use caution. Too much water is a bad idea for lettuce too. Keep soil moist, neither wet nor dry. Lettuce is a happy little plant that can pretty much be left alone.
5. Plant leaf from seed, head from plants. If you are growing leaf lettuce, it’s best to grow it where the seed is planted. Plant leaf and romaine lettuce directly in the garden from seed. This prevents damage to the seedling, which are quite delicate. Head lettuces should be grown indoors and transplanted into the garden.