FoodProduction101

How to plant lettuce

April 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Leafy Greens

Tuesday 4-17-2012

I planted 1/8 of my outdoor planted lettuce today. I will have 7 more sowings as the season progresses. I really like to space out my lettuce planting, so I can have a continuous supply of lettuce throughout the season. Early in the spring I will plant lettuce in full sun, but as the season wears on, it is a good idea to plant the lettuce in some shade, as it does better, and tastes better in cooler conditions.

 

Tools & materials needed?

Pointed hoe, screwdriver, lettuce mix seed

 

Timing?

You can plant lettuce as soon as the soil is warm enough to dig, and the chance of a hard frost has passed. Early spring is good timing. When it gets closer to summer, it is a good idea to plant in the shade.

 

Soil type?

Lettuce will grow in most soils, but they really like heavily composted or manured soil.

 

Companions that lettuce loves?

Mint, sage, balm, radish, carrots, beans 

 

Companions that love lettuce?

brassicas

 

Depth?

Lettuce seed is a small sized seed that requires a shallow depth of 1/4 inch. 

 

Spacing?

I put lettuce about an inch apart, although the seed is so small and light that I am never exact. I lean toward the side of putting them too close together because, I will just eat the young lettuce if I get overcrowding, which is a better problem than big spaces if some don’t germinate.

 

How to plant the seed?

1. I mulch my garden, so I first take the side of my pointed hoe and gently pull the mulch away from the area I am going to plant.                                                                   

 

2. I make a very narrow, shallow ¼ inch deep trench for the lettuce. This is where I use my old screwdriver. I put gorilla tape on the screwdriver to denote 1 inch, so I can estimate my planting depth easier. I like using the screwdriver for small seed because I don’t like to pull back a lot of soil. This makes it less likely that I will bury my tiny seeds too deep.

 

Mulch pulled back with pointed hoe                                        Seed planted and freshly tamped down

 

3. I drop the seed in the trench about 1 inch apart by taking a small pile of seed in my left hand, then taking a pinch of seed from the pile in my right hand. I then roll the seed between my thumb and index finger as I move my hand along my trench dropping seed in as I go. You will not get perfect spacing this way, and you will waste some seed, but it is a lot quicker than trying to plant each seed one at a time.

 

4. I gently rake only the soil back over the trench with the side of my pointed hoe.

 

5. I lightly tamp the area with the back of the pointed hoe to connect the seed to the soil.

 

6. I push the mulch very near where I planted the lettuce, but I will wait for the lettuce to get some height before putting the rest of the mulch back.

 

7. Water your seeds in. Make sure to keep the soil moist until germination.

 

Lettuce Mix

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