Lettuce is a cold-resistant vegetable, it can grow well in most areas.
- Select lettuce breed. What’s your favorite lettuce. You can try to grow various lettuce breeds as most of lettuces need same care. Below are the most popular lettuce breeds:
* Short-Leaf Lettuce. You can use this lettuce in hamburgers and sandwiches, or make a cool and crispy fresh salad.
* Long-Leaf Lettuce with deliciously crunchy leaves.
* Butter Head or Boston Lettuce. The leaves are soft, verdant and nutritious.
* Pine-Leaf Variety. These bright green, healthy lettuces tend to be sold in the spring because they prefer warmer climates than other types of lettuce.
- Decide where to propagate lettuce seeds, indoor or outdoor? No matter indoor or outdoor, lettuce can be propagated well. But growing indoors offers the opportunity to grow more than one crop in a season. If you want fresh lettuce on the table all summer and fall, start growing more lettuce seeds indoors and plant then outdoors later.
- Prepare plant trays to hold seeds. Fill the top 1/2 inch of the seed trays with soilless growing medium. Moisten the medium to prepare the seeds for sowing.
* Seeds already contain the nutrients they need to germinate, so don’t plant them directly in soil. You can buy a growing medium or make a medium from perlite, vermiculite and sphagnum. Mix together in a 1:1:1 ration.
- Sow seeds 4-6 weeks before the ground warms up. This will give them the seeds to germinate before the ground becomes soft enough to plant. Spread the seeds uniformly in the seed plate. Utilize your fingers to squeeze them into the developing medium delicately.
- Provide enough sunlight and water for seeds. Place grow trays in a sunny window and keep the medium moist at all times. If it dries out, the seed may not grow.
* You can cover the plant tray with several papers about one week till the seeds sprout. Always keep paper moist and replace it when you see green shoots appear.
* Do not overwater the seeds. Seeds overly moist may fail to grow.
- Prepare containers or plant into ground. You should plant to grow lettuce after the last frost in spring. Choose an area with well-drained soil and plenty of sun. Use a soil loosener or shovel to remove dirt and rocks, sticks and weeds from the area. Or you can directly grow them in raised garden bed or other grow containers. Apply compost or fertilizer about a week before you plan to plant the seeds.
* Lettuce is cold-resistant, at a certain condition, it cannot grow normally. Make sure the soil is not too wet, as it will have a lot of nitrogen in it.
* Make sure the soil is rich in humus. Talk to your local nurseryman about how to enrich the soil in your particular area to make it ideal for growing lettuce.
- Transplant seedlings. Dig a hole every 16 inches for short-leaf and long-leaf lettuce, and every 8 inches for loose-leaf lettuce varieties. The hole should be deep enough to accommodate the root ball of the plant. Take the lettuce seedlings from the seed tray and place them in the holes. Tap lightly to keep the soil vertical around the roots, and water it until thoroughly moistened.
* Use a watering can or nozzle hose diffuser to water the lettuce.
* Do not submerge seedlings completely in water, just make sure the soil is completely moist.
- Plant more seeds. On the other side of the garden, you can plant the other types of seedlings that will sprout and be harvested later, so you’ll have a longer lettuce growing season. Loosen the soil and then spread seeds over 1/2 inch of soil. A bag of seeds can cover about 100 ft of land.
* It’s best to grow pine-leaf varieties from seed. They will grow later because they are more resistant to heat then short and long-leaf lettuce, and they are less likely to wilt in the hot summer months.
* Water the seeds thoroughly after planting.
- Apply fertilizer to lettuce three weeks after planting. Use alfalfa meal or slow-release fertilizer which are rich in nitrogen helping lettuce grow fast and well.
- Keep watering to lettuce. If leaves look wilted, you need to water. Sprinkle the lettuce with water every day, the leaves will look a little floppy any time.
- Harvest full-blown lettuce leaves. When the lettuce leaves look ready to eat–they should be like the lettuce leaves you buy at the vegetable market–you can pick up leaves directly. In a few weeks, when the plant is mature, you will want to mow the whole lettuce from the ground. If you leave it in the ground, it will eventually go bad.
* Pick in the morning. The lettuce will be more crispy overnight.
* Lettuce begins to wilt in the heat towards the end of the growing season. It starts to seed and has a bitter taste. You can stop this by snapping off the center part of the plant. If the lettuce isn’t wilting, just pull it up whole.
2. Store lettuce in your refrigerator. If you won’t eat it at the first, you can store in refrigerator. Or you can wrap it with paper and put it in a plastic bag, the lettuce can be stored above ten days.
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