Those of you who are big salad eaters and who currently buy your lettuce at the grocery store will find that you save a huge amount of grocery money and have much tastier salads too. Talk about a win/win situation!
5 Lettuce varieties sure to be a hit in your organic vegetable garden
Once you've decided which lettuces to grow and you have a garden spot or container ready for them, you can seed them directly into their new home. To grow head lettuce, seeds should be planted about 1/8" deep and at a rate of about 4 seeds/foot in rows 12-18" apart. If you crave "baby" lettuce, you can seed your lettuce in a block or a band at about 15 seeds/square foot. After seeding, keep your soil moist and you will see your lettuces sprout in about 3 days.
Lettuce grows quickly and will be ready to harvest as baby lettuce about 28 days after seeding. Head lettuces should take 45-60 days to mature, depending on the variety you are growing. Baby salad mix is harvested by giving the lettuce a "haircut", cutting leaves off above the soil surface (leave enough leaf that the plants can grow back if you want a second harvest from the same plants). Head lettuce is harvested by cutting the head off just above the soil surface.
Your lettuce should be relatively trouble free to grow. While lettuces are prone to a few fungal diseases such as damping off, bottom rot and downy mildew, these problems are relatively uncommon. If they do occur, it's likely to be during a time of cool, damp weather. A few insect pests find lettuce to be a tasty treat. These are aphids, army worms, cabbage worms and loopers and slugs.
These pests can be controlled with organic methods: lady bugs will eat aphids, the "worms" (actually caterpillars) can be treated with Bt and slugs can be trapped.
Lettuces are one of the wonderful vegetables that can go right from your garden to your plate with minimum preparation time. Five minutes after harvesting it, you can be enjoying your very own organic lettuce mix.
Give lettuce a try. It will be much tastier than any lettuce that you have ever bought in the grocery store, guaranteed! Lettuce is fun to grow, beautiful to look at and is sure to be a hit on your dinner table. Makes you want to treat yourself to a salad, doesn't it?