How to Grow Lettuce

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This plant is tremendously used at the culinary level in most cultures. In fact, in France they do not distinguish between the name they give to salad and the name they give to lettuce. We know that they are similar to other less known plants, such as escaroles or spinach. However lettuce is much better known and used.

There are many types of lettuce, but what we should know is that it wasn’t like the type of lettuce we see today, it was wild. Lettuce, in nature, is usually small and bitter. The human being has adapted it, making it tasty and big.

We are interested in learning to sow lettuce because they are now in every supermarket, but they receive a huge amount of chemicals to reduce pest attacks (such as slugs) or to increase the size and speed with which they grow. Therefore and taking into account that due to the variety and harvest time, we can have lettuce throughout the year.

What properties can we find in lettuce?

Lettuces are a type of leafy vegetables. We can find numerous properties that can greatly improve our health. Among them we will highlight the following:

Soothing, purifying, refreshing properties.

Vitamins A, from B1 to B6, C, D and E.

Minerals such as copper, chlorine, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron and sodium.

Lettuces are also excellent sedatives. Therefore its use is recommended for those who suffer from insomnia. To take advantage of all its nutritional attributes, it is important to consume the lettuce leaves when they have a darker color. White leaves have a lower chlorophyll content, which means they have less nutrients.

Where to sow lettuce?

Lettuces adapt to most climates. However, they prefer not too high temperatures. Its large leaves cause them to dehydrate easily. In case of high temperatures it might be interesting to give them some shade.

Lettuce likes humid and fresh climates. So early in spring, autumn and warm winters can be left in full sun. But in summer it is recommended to leave in a shady place or the plant will grow like a tower up and end up giving flowers and seeds.

On the other hand, lettuce has no problems growing in shady places. We should keep in mind that if there is excessive irrigation or rain in its final phase of growth can easily cause rot.

How to prepare the soil?

Lettuces do not grow well in heavy soils, which is why it is not recommended to plant them in clay soils. If we had a clay soil, just add compost and manure for a couple of years and it will become a soil suitable for lettuce.

Lettuce likes soils with Ph between 6 and 7 to develop. Like spinach, chard or canon, we must sow lettuce in soil rich in highly decomposed organic matter and rich in humus. We will use soils in which we have grown other vegetables, such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and carrots. We will look for a soil that is able to retain moisture well.

As we have said before, lettuce does not need excessively fertilized soil. With the remains of previous plantations is usually enough. However, if we have poor soil, we can resort to very decomposed compost. We can spread about 3kg per square meter. We will add half, that is, 1.5kg during lettuce development.

How to water lettuce?

We must know that if we want to plant lettuce, one of the most important points is the large amount of water they require. Mainly when buds are forming.

The ideal irrigation system will be the drip. Lettuces require a soil that is constantly moist. For what we will give daily and in small quantity. We rule out the risks that flood the lettuce crop, since rot is more than assured.

In early stages we could use sprinkler irrigation, however it is not advisable once the lettuce buds take strength and are large. Since they will also cause rot and attract enemies like slugs more easily.

How to sow lettuce?

Lettuce can be sown directly in the garden, in its final pot or in a drawer for storage for subsequent transplantation. You have to take care of providing a fresh medium to germinate or it will never leave the seed. For this we must always keep the soil moist and if it is very hot we can cool the seeds between 2 sheets of blotting paper in the refrigerator for a couple of days before sowing them. They are planted in the orchards in rows separated by 30 cm and in the same row the lettuces are separated 25 cm between them, in the planters it is enough to leave a space with a radius of 25 cm per lettuce to achieve a good development of these.

You can plant lettuce to consume in spring, summer, autumn and winter if you live in an area with a mild climate. Winter lettuces should be sown directly on the ground in early autumn. Spring lettuces germinate in seedlings in late winter and then transplant when spring arrives. Autumn and summer lettuce is sown directly about 8 weeks before being consumed.

We can sow lettuce throughout the year.

Like other sister cousins such as spinach or chard, we will make two lines and bury several seeds about two cm (two or three). We will leave a distance of about 30cm between each of the buried seeds.

Lettuce is a plant that grows quickly and easily. Once the lettuces are growing, we can clarify them (already to consume) and thus facilitate the collection.

How to harvest lettuce?

Depending on the variety, we can harvest the lettuces at approximately 50 days. Lettuces should not be stored, they are taken directly from the garden or from the planters at the time they want to be consumed.

Lettuces can be harvested from when they are very small until they reach their final size, during this stage they are very rich. In the end it all depends on the tastes of each person the moment they want to harvest. What you do have to be careful is that they do not mature because they can become very bitter.

We must also eliminate the herbs that appear around as a result of having a moist and constant soil. For this we will use a small hoe or shovel and we will remove them as they leave.

Planting lettuce is relatively simple. The important thing is to provide them with continuous irrigation, ensure that the land is rich in humus and prevent their enemies from approaching.

What enemies does lettuce have?

Lettuce has as its main enemies slugs (such as snails), birds, rot due to excess moisture and dryness.

We could also find aphids. We can fight them with garlic and chillies.

Against the birds we can resort to a mesh that covers the lettuce. This mesh should not be attached to the plantation, but there must be a space, so that the birds do not arrive.

How to plant lettuce at home?

Planting lettuce is one of the first things that are advised to those who begin to grow for the first time in their garden, because it is one of the fastest crops to be harvested and easier to grow. In addition, growing rapidly allows you to have fewer pests and diseases, which encourages everyone to keep getting into this wonderful world.

Planting lettuce is one of the first things that are advised to those who begin to grow for the first time in their garden, because it is one of the fastest crops to be harvested and easier to grow. In addition, growing rapidly allows you to have fewer pests and diseases, which encourages everyone to keep getting into this wonderful world.

Lettuce is one of the simplest vegetables to grow at home. It adapts to different spaces and climates, prefers half or full sun and a nutrient-rich soil. We must have a well drained soil, we can use a mixture of black earth and leaf land. The lettuce seeds are elongated (0.5mm) and can be dark brown or light brown.

There are different ways to grow our lettuce at home, it can be direct sowing or transplanting.

Direct sowing: In this method we will use culture beds or boxes with a minimum depth of 30cm. The soil mixture must have a good organic matter content and efficient drainage. The soil should be well accommodated and tracing grooves (1-2cm deep) along the container with a gap between 8-10cm. Place the lettuce seed with a gap between 1-2cm, then cover the grooves with the soil that was next to the seeds. Water your container when finished planting.

For the sowing of transplant we must have a seedbed or container that has a good mixture of soil with organic matter. Make holes 0.5-1cm deep and place the seed. Then cover with soil mixture and water your seedbed. Seedlings will begin to sprout in 4-6 days. Our seedlings will be ready for transplantation when the second pair of true leaves appears.

For the transplant of the seedlings we must have our space ready. The distance between plants is 15-25cm depending on the variety and we can use the technique of sowing nearby. When we take out our seedlings from the seedbed we should not hurt the roots. If these are very curled we can cut them a little to encourage their growth. The space where they will be placed must be deep enough so that the roots do not compress and when placed on the ground, cover until the beginning of the first leaves.

Lettuce harvesting depends on the method of planting and the amount we want to use. Water the plants well the day before and harvest in the morning period.

For sowing in boxes (direct sowing) the harvest is done when the leaves of the lettuce are approximately 12-15cm tall (baby), its flavor will be softer. The harvest is done with a knife or scissors, taking by hand and cutting the leaves of the lettuce, leaving about 3-4cm of the surface so that it can sprout again. With this technique we can have two or three lettuce cuts and we can harvest only the amount we need.

One technique to harvest lettuce is to remove the outer leaves (2-3 at a time) in this way, the plant continues to develop and we can harvest it gradually. If we observe that our plant begins to lengthen from the center, it means that it will begin its reproduction stage so we can leave it to produce seed or harvest it completely. The taste of lettuce leaves, when it reaches the stage of reproduction, is more bitter.

Another way to harvest our lettuce is to cut the piece from the base. We must know the variety we are growing to know the best time for harvest. If we do it before, we will not fully exploit the potential of our lettuce. And if we do it after time, its flavor may be more bitter and stored for less time.

After harvesting the lettuce, they should be washed with cold water and allowed to drain. They can be stored in a bag to keep moisture. If you used the first two harvest techniques (baby and individual sheets), they can be stored for up to a week. If the lettuce was harvested whole, it can be stored for up to two weeks. To maintain its qualities, it is very important that the leaves maintain their moisture and can also breathe.

Basic tips

There are many varieties of lettuce, each person must choose the varieties they like best and those that best adapt to the climatic and physical conditions of the orchards.

The soil in the pots dries much faster than the soil in the garden, but it has the great advantage that they can be easily moved. Therefore, if we see that our lettuces are blackened in the pots, it is a matter of moving them to a more bleak place.

It is recommended not to sow all lettuce at once, but to compensate for planting. This will allow us to have crops for longer and will help us not lose lettuce because they ripen too much and become bitter.

It is recommended to tie the lettuce one or two weeks before harvest. This will make them whiter inside and at the same time help not to let water enter the lettuce. The water in the lettuce causes it to rot.

https://dengarden.com/gardening/A-Guide-to-Growing-Lettuce

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