How to Grow Lettuce from Seed
For a continuous harvest over the 6 month Spring and Summer periods plant a tray of plants shown below every 2 to 3 weeks.
The following two lists shows what tools and equipment I used to grow the Lettuce. Not all are strictly necessary but they are listed for completeness. For example - you would only need a heated mat if you had nowhere warm to germinate the seeds - or you can simply use string in place of a line marker - or you can use re-cycled pots from last year if you have them.
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Things You Will Need to Grow Lettuce
Tools You Will Need to Grow Lettuce
- Garden Line Marker
- Garden Trowel
- Heated Mat
- Garden Spade
- Garden Digging Fork
- Garden Rake
- Watering Can
Step by Step Guide
If you want a quick overview then I suggest you first watch my Youtube Video How to Grow Lettuce from Seed . The following steps are also in the video but more detail is given in the sections below:
Step 1. Buy Some Seeds
Lettuce Seeds are available in Garden Stores or you can buy them on-line.
The variety that I am showing you how to grow here is called 'Little Gem'.
On the rear of the packet are usually shown growing times and instructions for your region.
Step 2: Get Some Pots
Step 3: Fill the Pots with Compost
Fill the pots with Compost then gently press it down to remove any air pockets.
Step 4: Water the Compost
Seeds need air, heat and water to germinate. It is best to moisten the compost before adding the seeds otherwise they can all be washed to the edges of the tray if you water afterwards.
Step 5: Place Seeds on the Compost
Place the seeds on top of the compost. For the size of the pots shown in the photo place up to 4 seeds per pot (one in each corner).
Cover the seeds with 10mm (1/4 inch) of compost. Press the compost down gently to remove any air pockets. This allows the seeds to make contact with the moist compost and absorb water which they need to germinate.
Keep warm place (15 to 20 degC) and keep watered. If you dont have a warm room you can buy a Heated Mat that goes under the tray.
Step 6: Seeds Germinate
Within 14 days the seeds will have germinated. Some may fail and that is why we planted 4 seeds per pot above.
Step 7: Plant Outside
When the plants are about 3 inch (75mm) tall plant them outside.
Prior to removing the plants from their pots give them a good soaking. This helps getting them out of the pot and stops the roots drying out.
Mark a line where you want to position the plants with a length of string or use a Garden Line Marker.
Dig a small hole using a Hand Trowel. Hold the lettuce plant by its leaves and carefully remove it from the pot. If its roots tangle with other plants in the pot then gently tease them apart.
Place the roots in the hole and gently press soil around them.
Give the plants a good soaking to establish them into position.
The plants should be spaced 15cm (6 inches) apart. Each row shoulf be 25cm (10 inches) apart.
Step 8: Harvest
Within 4 to 6 weeks the lettuce will be ready to harvest. It is best to start taking your first harvest before all are full size so that by the time you eat the one at the end of the row it will be full size.
Delicious, hearty organic lettuce!
Step 9: Cutting
To harvest the lettuce you can either pull it out of the ground with all its root or cut it just above the ground using a sharp knife.
Step 10: Prepare for Eating
When you get the lettuce home first cut off the root with a sharp knife.
Next wash the leaves in cold water. Wash away any soil and discard any discolored leaves.
Place the leaves in a Salad Spinner.
Spin the Salad Spinner to remove the water from the leaves.
Step 11: Eat!
Enjoy a delicious, crisp, fresh salad.