Growing lettuce: instructions for growing Lactuca sativa
Growing lettuce is easy and promising. Here you will find instructions on planting lettuce and tips on where to place it and when to do it.
The cultivation of lettuce ( Lactuca sativa ) is easy and therefore also suitable for beginners or those who don’t like gardening. In this article, you will find out how lettuce planting works best for you. Here we will tell you everything about the right time to plant, the best location, the right approach to planting, and the best care for your lettuce.
When should you grow lettuce?
Depending on the species, there are different times for growing lettuce. It is also important whether you sow directly in the bed or whether you prefer plants in the warm greenhouse or on the windowsill earlier. By pulling them forward, you give your lettuce plants a head start outside in the bed and save seeds – but it also means more work. Direct sowing in the bed is less expensive, but small plants are more likely to fall victim to voracious snails. Of course, you can also plant lettuce on the balcony or in a raised bed.
The classic among the salads, the lettuce ( Lactuca sativa var. Capitata ), can be brought forward from mid-February and planted out in March or sown outdoors from March to April. The same applies to Batavia lettuce (Lactuca sativa ), iceberg lettuce ( Lactuca sativa var. Capitata nidus tenerimma ), and lettuce or cut lettuce ( Lactuca sativa var. Crispa ). They can be sown early from mid-April or sown directly in the garden from May to August. Romaine lettuce ( Lactuca sativa var. Longifolia ) can be grown in the garden bed from May to June or grown at home or in the greenhouse from mid-April.
Endive ( Cichorium endivia ) is sown later in the year, namely from June to July directly in the bed. Lamb’s lettuce ( Valerianella locusta ) can be sown either in autumn or in spring. Lamb’s lettuce sown in August can be harvested before winter. If you sow it in September, you can harvest the first fresh lettuce very early in the spring. Alternatively, the lamb’s lettuce can also be spread in spring from the beginning to the end of April.
At a glance: When is the right time to plant lettuce?
- Iceberg lettuce, lettuce, cut lettuce: pull forward in mid-April; outdoors from May to August
- Romaine lettuce: Pull forward in mid-April; outdoors from May to June
- Lettuce, Batavia lettuce: pull forward in mid-February; outdoors from March to May
- Endive salad: June to July
- Lamb’s lettuce: August to September, early to late April
Where should you grow lettuce?
Lettuce is modest and does not place high demands on its location. He feels comfortable in a sunny as well as a partially shaded location. He just doesn’t like it completely shaded. The soil should ideally be loose and well ventilated. In addition, the lettuce likes it humus and moist, but not too wet. There should be a break of four years for lettuce between cultivation in the same area.
At a glance: correct location and soil for lettuce
- Sunny to a partially shaded location
- Loose soil
- Rich in humus
- Well ventilated
- Damp but not wet
Tip: Salad is a welcome neighbor in the bed. Strawberries ( Fragaria ) and radishes ( Raphanus sativus var. Sativus ), as well as kohlrabi ( Brassica oleracea var. Gongylodes ) or dill ( Anethum graveolens ), appreciate its neighborhood. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum ssp. Crispum ), on the other hand, is less fond of it.
Instructions for planting lettuce
When growing lettuce, you have the option of preferring small plants to plant them out afterward or to sow the lettuce in the field in the bed. In the following, we present both options.
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As mentioned earlier, there are some benefits for you to preferring your salad. To do this, prepare seed pots with special potting soil. There the lettuce seeds are placed half a centimeter to one centimeter deep. Salads are light germs and should therefore only be covered very lightly with the substrate. Then the seeds are moistened with a spray bottle. In a bright place that is not too warm – at best between 10 and 16 ° C – the lettuce should germinate within 10 to 14 days. After they have emerged, you can pick out the plants in individual pots.
At a glance: prefer salad
- Prepare seed trays with potting soil
- Germination temperature: 10 – 16 ° C
- Seed depth: 0.5 – 1 cm
- Cover the seeds only slightly with soil
- Moisten with a spray bottle
- Germination time: 10-14 days
- Prick after rising
Plant out the lettuce
The lettuce can be planted outdoors around four weeks after it has been brought forward. Other options are of course to sow the lettuce directly in the garden bed or to plant out purchased plants.
Before planting, prepare the bed well by loosening the soil well and removing all weeds and stones. Then enrich the soil with compost or a fertilizer with organic long-term effects. In this way, you offer your lettuce the best conditions to grow from the outset.
Now create grooves about 25 centimeters apart for no-till or planting. However, these can vary depending on the type of salad. This also applies to the distance between the plants. In general, however, a planting distance of 25 centimeters also applies to most types of lettuce. For direct sowing, the seed grooves should only be half a centimeter deep. When planting young plants, they should only be deep enough so that the roots of the lettuce plants definitely protrude from the ground. Both the seeds and the planted young plants are then watered. If you have sown too closely, young plants that are too close together should be isolated after they have emerged.
At a glance: Plant out the lettuce
- Loosen up the bed well
- Apply compost or fertilizer with long-term organic effects
- Create planting grooves
- Row spacing: 25 cm
- Plant spacing: 25 cm
- Cover the seeds only slightly with soil
- Prepare planting holes for planting
- The roots should be just above the ground
- Pouring on
- Isolate when sowing after emergence
Maintain lettuce after planting
The salad consists of over 95 percent water. So it’s no wonder that the plant needs plenty of it as it grows. If the lettuce lacks water, it will become too firm and heads will start shooting. You should therefore water regularly in midsummer. For most types of lettuce, you no longer need to fertilize after the basic fertilization during planting. Regular chopping around the lettuce is necessary to stimulate mineralization and to ensure better penetration of the water into the soil. At the same time, this has the nice side effect that the weeds are also removed.
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