The different varieties of lettuce to choose from to grow in your home vegetable garden varies as greatly as the number of choices your local cable company or dish provider give you in the form of channels to surf through. Then when you break down each variety there are even more choices. And just when you thought you narrowed everything down, someone threw is a Mesclun mix! Yes, there are that many choices with lettuce.
But don’t fear. Although you have countless choices for your lettuce, the basic process by which to grow them are for the most part , the same.
Depending on which variety of lettuce you choose to plant will determine how deep you should plant the seed. As a rule of thumb the smaller the seed the closer to the surface the seed should be planted. One quarter inch to one half inch deep is the normal depth for most lettuce seeds. Expect the seeds to germinate in about fourteen days.
Start your lettuce seeds indoors four weeks prior to the last frost date in your area. Lettuce is a great cool weather crop and can be grown in both the fall and spring, which makes the transition from indoors to the outdoors during the winter/spring season much easier.
Lettuce likes the soil’s pH to be neutral (that is 7 on the scale). Although it will tolerate slight acidity, anything under 6.0 won’t be helpful to your lettuce`s growth. If you have been composting throughout the year with an even blend of `greens` and `browns` , your space should be ok. But pay the $3 for a pH soil tester just to make sure.
Spacing, watering and sun requirements will vary from variety to variety but for generic purposes, space out your lettuce ten to twelve inches, give them a light to moderate watering (every other day or even every three days), and plant in an area that receives partial shade to full sun.
When harvesting, many types of lettuce can simply have their leaves snipped off with a pair of scissors which allows the plant to continue to grow until it either stops producing or bolts due to surrounding conditions. The exception to this harvesting rule is iceberg lettuce. You will have to harvest the entire head for best results.
Lettuce makes a great companion for pretty much everything but does not rotate well with artichokes, endive and escarole.
Now is your chance to unleash your inner passion for salads by growing your lettuce which makes up the base for many types. Plant a pack of Mesclun mix in your home vegetable garden and you will have a near complete ready made salad.
About the Author
Mike Podlesny is the administrator for the largest Vegetable Gardening page on Facebook. Join in the vegetable gardening conversation today with your Facebook account and find out how you can get 2 packs of seeds absolutely free.