Growing lettuce has always been a wonder to grow and continues to be a great family favourite. It is relatively easy to grow and will suit pretty much any back garden space all the way to a size of an allotment.
By all accounts, lettuce is also a fairly quick growing crop that can be sown throughout the growing season to give you gorgeous food on your table. Just be careful, it is so good that birds love it too.
Growing Lettuce – The Basics
Lettuce plants, when they are growing, are lovely to look at. It doesn’t really matter if they are grown in a vegetable bed or even in pots, you won’t be disappointed in the results.
Can lettuce be grown from seed?
Lettuce is almost always grown from seed although you can sometime buy the plugs from your local garden centre but you will then be limited on your cropping and continual harvest.
Lettuce can be sown both in the ground and in containers. A number of different lettuce seeds can be found here on Thompson & Morgan.
As you can see, lettuce seeds are very small so you are going to need to help little ones with the sowing but it is quite amazing how a seed so small can turn into a salad plant so lovely and feed your family at lunch or supper!
When should you grow lettuce?
Sow Outdoors: between March and August
Harvest: June to October
*Timings vary for different varieties.
What you will need to grow lettuce?
- Lettuce seeds (you normally get loads in a pack)
- Compost (for growing in pots or in the ground)
- Large pots or trug if planting in containers
- Optional but recommended if growing in the ground – Fleece Tunnel to help tackle any wildlife eating your lettuce
Can lettuce grow in pots?
Lettuce can certainly be grown in pots and we do a mixture of growing in containers as well as in the ground. You will want fairly sizeable pots so that you can get a number of plants in there all at the same time. The large pots that we use to grow lettuce are available from Amazon. Click here to check them out.
You will also want to make sure that your pots are protected from slugs and snails as they like lettuce more than us. I have been amazed in the past just how much lettuce has been eaten in one night whilst I am asleep. Whilst is will be great for the wildlife in the garden, it is quite disheartening so make sure that you give the plants some protection.
Can lettuce grow in the ground?
Lettuce grows as good in the ground as it does in the pots. However, you can simply grow more of it. You will need some add some compost to the ground so that you are able to sow the seeds directly into the soil.
If you are sowing direct into the ground, simply create a drill that is 1cm deep and sow your seeds. Once they have grown to a size that is easy enough to handle, then the seedlings to 23cm apart. This is great activity for the children as you can introduce further learning.
If you are sowing multiple rows, make sure that the drills are 30cm apart to allow space for them to grow.
What you can also do with lettuce if you don’t want to sow directly into the ground is grow them in cells. Our favourite way of doing this is to use a 40 cell tray and then put a seed in each one. This can be kept on the windowsill until such time that the plant is big enough to handle.
As the plant has already grown in the cell, you can literally pop it out and plant it straight into your bed. Now all you need to do is watch it grow.
It is always best to add some compost to the bed if you are growing it in this way so that it has plenty of food for growing on.
Growing and caring for lettuce
Where does lettuce like to grow?
Lettuce like well prepared soil or compost that is kept moist in a sunny or part shade space.
How often should I water lettuce?
Lettuce does like to have a good drink of water. It is best to ensure that the soil is kept moist at all times, especially when the weather is hot.
How easy is it to grow lettuce?
Easy! Once the plant is established, you just need to keep it watered and watch it grow. Just watch out for wildlife that also want to have a taste too!
How to grow lettuce from seed
Lettuce is really easy to grow from seed. You can grow it in the ground, in large pots or even in a cell tray. However, which ever method you choose, you will want to make sure that the growing conditions are similar with each.
Gather the materials
To grow your seeds, you are going to need the following equipment:
- Lettuce Seeds
- Fine raked soil bed or trug, pots or container
Prepare the soil or place soil into a pot or container
Create a drill or put a 1cm hole into the compost
Sow seeds into the drill or put the seeds into the holes
Cover the seeds with compost/soil
Give the seeds a good drink to help them grow
Wait for them to grow
It won’t be long before you see those little seedlings growing and developing into lovely lettuce plants.
How do children get involved in growing lettuce?
Sowing the seeds
Sowing seeds is always a great experience for children. One thing to bear in mind for lettuce seeds is that they are very small. This means that smaller children may need some adult assistance. However, with lettuce being a fairly quick vegetable to grow it is also suited to children’s gardening.
Harvesting lettuce is extremely easy, you can either take a few leaves from the outside and then allow the middle of the plant to grow or just harvest the whole plant all in one go. Cut off the bottom of the plant and the wash and serve. You really notice the difference in the taste when it comes straight from the garden!