PLANTING LETTUCE SEED
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE NEW 'GARDEN OF EADEN' WEBSITE
Want to buy lettuce seed? Click here to view seed shop.
Lettuce is one of the most popular edible plants grown on the planet, and while it doesn't taste of all that much - in my opinion anyway - there is something about the cool, crispiness of a fresh lettuce that makes it essential for any salad. But there is more to it than that - you cannot get that authentic crunchy freshness from a shop bought lettuce. But you can from one you have just picked from the garden. What's more they are incredibly easy to grow - one of the easiest in fact.
SOWING INDOORS OR UNDER GLASS
If you are without a heated greenhouse and you want to get off to an early start, you can sow your lettuce seed indoors. They will grow quickly, so you may wish to skip sowing them into seed trays and plant them directly into small pots or compartmentalized packs. Just make sure that you use containers that are large enough for the young plants to reach garden size without the need for potting on.
Fill your tray or container with John Innes 'seed and potting' mix to within a half-inch of the rim, then tap the side of the container to help settle the mix. Top up with additional compost as necessary. If using pots or cells, place a few seeds into each one, then give a light covering of compost, firming it down gently over the seeds. If you are using a seed tray then give a light and even sprinkling of lettuce seeds across the whole tray at approximately 5 seeds per square inch.
Once done, give a light covering of compost and water in. Label with the variety and date of sowing, and place in into a covered propagator making sure the vents are fully open. Now leave in a bright, warm room, out of direct sunlight. The more light they can receive - the better germination you will get. Once the seedlings reach about 2 inches in height, thin out and discard any that look weak. Those in the seed tray can be pricked out and potted on into a standard potting mix. Those already in pots can be hardened off in preparation for moving outside.
.If your seedlings were grown under glass then they will also need to harden off before going outdoors. Place them into a cold-frame but keep the lid closed for a couple of weeks. Afterwards the lid can be opened on dry frost free days but remember to shut it again at night. After a further week or so, or when frosts are no longer expected, leave the lid open day and night for a week before planting outside.
To harden off seedlings that have been grown indoors in a heated room, moved them to a bright unheated room, leaving them there for a couple of weeks before either putting them into a cold frame, or for leaving them outside during the day. Never leave them out over night, and keep them in if there are strong cold winds of if temperatures drop below 6 degree Celsius. Keep this up for a week and if there is no immediate threat of further frosts they can be planted outside.
Lettuce plants require a free draining, humus rich soil that will hold plenty of moisture in the summer. To prevent the common physiological disorder of 'Tip burn' that can be experienced with some soils, you may wish to add lime before planting. In preparation to sowing, dig over the soil and add plenty of compost (such as leaf mould or well rotted manure) during the autumn or early winter. Then a week or so before sowing your lettuce seeds, rake the soil over to produce a fine tilth. You may also wish to apply a general fertiliser at this time.
Although Lettuce plants like plenty of light they do not like extremes of heat as this can also result in 'Tip burn'. Although your early seeded plants should be fine it's advisable to plant your summer harvest in a lightly shaded site.
.When sowing spring lettuce seeds directly outside, wait until the worst of the frosts are over. Choose a sunny site but by sowing this early you may need to give them the protection of a small poly-tunnel. If you are starting them off into seed beds, sow the seeds very thinly in ½ inch deep drills but leave about 6 inches between each row. If you are sowing them directly into the open ground then leave between 10 and 12 inches between rows. To avoid having a glut of lettuce and to ensure that crops are regularly coming into harvest, make successive, smaller sowings of lettuce seeds, at 1 or 2 week intervals depending on how much you intend on using. Depending on the variety it can take anytime between 6 and 14 weeks from sowings to become ready for harvest, so if you are growing from packet seeds - always read the label.
Once the lettuce seedlings get to about 2 inches high they can be thinned out to leave a gap of about 6 to 12 inches between each plant - depending on the overall size of the variety grown. If you are planning on transplanting seedlings grown indoors into open ground then this is an ideal time to do this.
For further information click onto:
Growing Cucumbers form Seed
Growing Kidney Beans
How do you Harden off Seedlings?
How to Collect and Prepare Lettuce seeds for Propagation
How to Collect and Prepare Pea Seeds for Propagation
How to Collect and Prepare Sweet and Chilli Pepper Seeds for Propagation
How to Collect and Prepare Tomato Seeds for Propagation
How to Control Flea Beetles on Lettuce
How to Germinate and Grow Cucumbers from Seed
How to Germinate and Grow Melon Plants from Seed
How to Germinate and Grow Okra from Seed Indoors
How to Grow Aubergines From Seed
How to Grow Beetroot from Seed
How to Grow Brassicas from Seed
How to Grow Carrots from Seed
How to Grow Chinese Spinach from Seed
How to Grow Eggplants from Seed
How to Grow Giant Onions
How to Grow Greenhouse Tomato Plants from Seed
How to Grow Lettuce from Seed
How to Grow Lettuce Indoors
How to Grow Lettuce Outside
How to Grow Okra from Seed Outdoors
How to Grow Outdoor Tomato Plants from Seed
How to Grow Radish from Seed
How to Grow Red Kidney Beans from Dried Seed
How to Grow Sweet Corn from Seed
How to Grow Winter Lettuce from Seed
How to Propagate and Grow Chili Peppers from Seed
How to Propagate and Grow Sweet Peppers from Seed
How to Propagate and Grow the Bell Pepper from Seed
How to Sow and Grow Courgettes from Seed Indoors
How to Sow and Grow Spring Onions from Seed
Organic Control of Aphids on Lettuce
Salad Crops for Late Summer/Autumn Planting
WHAT IS AN F1 HYBRID?
Which Salad Crop Seeds can be sown in August?
Which Vegetable Seeds can be Sown in January?
Which Vegetable Seeds can be Sown in September