It's that time of the year here in Tennessee where if you haven't already done so you might want to think about planting lettuce in your vegetable garden. Lettuce likes the cool air of early spring to start growing. I planted three types of lettuce last week in our raised beds - all of which are heirlooms.
How I Plant My Lettuce:
Scatter and thin! Lettuce seeds are small and for a home garden I don't see any reason to worry with rows. I simply take a few pinches of lettuce seeds and scatter them as evenly as possible over the soil where I want them to grow. Then I press the seeds gently into the soil to insure good seed to soil contact, water, and I'm finished. When the lettuce grows larger we'll thin out the small plants as they grow and eat the fresh lettuce like microgreens. Tender young greens are great in salads and on sandwiches! Eventually we'll end up with good spacing for the lettuce through thinning.
What Kinds of Lettuce Did I Plant?
One of the two green lettuces is 'Tom Thumb'. It grows into small 2-3 inch heads. I picked Tom Thumb lettuce mostly as a novelty because I thought my girls would enjoy seeing "baby lettuce." Although admittedly I'm excited to see how this diminutive lettuce delivers in taste!
The other green variety is called 'Little Gem'. It's a small romaine type that I thought would be our main munching lettuce.
The third type of lettuce I planted is 'Rouge d'Hiver' which is a red heirloom romaine lettuce from France. I really enjoy having unusual colors of lettuce in the garden. Last year we had a mixture of speckled romaine that had a nice flavor but I'm looking forward to seeing how these different heirloom varieties do. One goal with all of our vegetables is to produce our own seed supply for next year with the hope of reducing our gardening budget even further.
When the weather warms the lettuce will begin to bolt but I'll leave a couple heads of lettuce alone to produce its seed. Then I'll collect and store it for a fall or spring crop. Either way we'll come out ahead, of lettuce that is!
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Starting Lettuce from Seed in the Vegetable Garden
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Dave is the author of Growing The Home Garden and runs a small nursery business growing vegetables and herbs for local customers in Spring Hill, TN. (Blue Shed Gardens or FB page). He has written for gardening publications, Troy-Bilt and Lowe's and is available for edible garden consulting. Dave gardens organically and when he isn't writing, collecting seeds, or propagating plants he's parenting his 4 children as a stay at home dad.