Lettuce is the essential vegetable you’ve known since childhood, your first experience of the “salad” concept. As more and more esoteric veggies, with their unique tastes and textures have become part of your life palate, it’s important to remember where it all began. Praise always dependable lettuce! It’s one of the vegetables that you can grow in your window box or balcony garden. We have the perfect guide to show you how to best grow lettuce, this enduring classic.
Step 1 – Getting Started
The best way to grow lettuce from seeds is to start it indoors. To do this you can get seedling pods from your local garden store, or if you’re feeling crafty you can use clean cans and yogurt cups. We recommend starting with romaine lettuce, as itt requires less maintenance than head lettuce, and comes in many different varieties.
Step 2 – Planting
Plant the seeds about 4 weeks before your last frost. Place a bit of seedling mix into the containers of your choice (if you have fresh compost, mix in a little), and place a couple of seeds in each container/cell, ¼” deep. Place them in a sunny, south-facing window, where they should germinate in about 7-14 days. Make sure that the soil isn’t getting too hot, as the seeds germinate best between 4-16 degrees Celsius. Water daily, to keep the soil moist, but not wet.
Step 3 – Transplanting
Lettuce prefers partial shade, so make sure to put your plants outside in a place that gets a good balance of sun and shade. Too much sun and your lettuce may get bitter.
Before transplanting, you must harden the plants to outdoor conditions by leaving them outside for gradually longer periods of time. You can do this for 2-3 days. Don’t worry, lettuce prefers cooler temperatures, and is resilient to frost.
Mix in a little compost to the soil before transplanting, and place the seedlings about 6”-7” apart.
Step 4 – Watering
Lettuce needs quite a bit of water, so we recommend watering twice daily: once in the morning and once in the evening, for best results. Once the plants are big enough, you can water just once daily in the evenings.
Step 5 – Harvesting
About a month after transplanting, your lettuce should be ready to harvest. Start by harvesting just the outer leaves, allowing the lettuce to regrow.
You can also harvest a whole head of lettuce, by cutting it at the base, since you now know how to grow replacements.
Watch this video for more tips!
How to Grow Lettuce from Seed to Harvest
After you mastered growing lettuce, check out our guide on how to grow garlic!