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Lettuce in March

A Gardening Life – March 23

We are harvesting lettuce daily from our solar heated shed. It faces south and is insulated, so once the sun is warm in February it doesn’t go below freezing inside the building. The Smart Pots we used this year were moved inside this shed after we harvested the last of the leeks and eggplants outside last fall. We added a bit more soil to the bags, put them into plastic bins so they don’t leak on the floor, and seeded lettuce in February. We’ve been harvesting salad greens for two weeks now – if you cut the plants above the newest growth the plants rapidly regenerate more leaves.

We have several types of leaf lettuce, cress and arugula going. Sometime in April we'll finish the lettuce and move the bags outside, setting them back on the ground so they can be planted with potatoes and eggplant again next summer. We'll refresh the soil with compost and more dirt.

Sharing the Wealth

Growing lettuce from seed:

  • It’s easy to grow salad greens from seed – why pay the same for a cell pack of three to six plants when you can have dozens from the same price?
  • Whether you are growing lettuce outside, in a cold frame, or in a cool growing house/shed, smooth the soil where you’ll be planting and sprinkle the seeds on the surface of the soil.
  • If you’re not growing individual heads of lettuce, but harvesting leaves when they are young and tender, you don’t have to thin the plants.
  • Growing lettuce in groups rather than in thin rows is an efficient use of space. When the plants are growing thickly they also shade the soil and crowd out weeds. This means less work weeding and more eating!
  • Water the seeds gently after you plant and monitor the lettuce bed to be sure that things don’t dry up while they germinate. But don’t water too frequently, and always water in the morning if possible so that the plants don’t stay wet overnight; lettuce that’s kept too wet will rot.
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