Reap What you Sow
- Growing lettuce is the perfect crop for beginners: its flavour is unbeatable compared to what you can buy, it’s easy to grow and gives quick results.
- It’s best to wait until the last frosts have passed but you can get ahead early with some fleece or cloches.
- Sow seeds directly into a good site or large pots if you don’t have the space. Last year I replaced my large oak barrel of tulips with a good mix of lettuce seeds which added plenty of colour with unusual varieties such as Mustard Red Frills, Lollo Rosso and Freckles.
- Sow little and often to avoid a glut. For a continuous supply you will want to grow a few seeds at a time in succession, so when you see seedlings appear sow a few more.
- Sow seeds in rows about 20-30cm apart, with about 1cm of soil over them, and water generously to avoid them becoming stressed and bolting. As the seeds start to germinate and grow, thin them out by picking out the weaklings, until you have strong plants about 20-30cm apart.
- Germination can be erratic on a hot day so try sowing somewhere slightly shaded, or on a cloudy day as your seeds will go into a secondary dormancy and they won’t germinate.
- Protect from pests such as rabbits, or if you have slugs then some organic slug pellets or a shallow dish of leftover beer next to teh little plants should do the trick.
- You can buy plug salad plants from garden centres. Shield Green Nurseries in Hexham Market place always have a nice selection.
We’ve just ordered the unusual selection below from the Real Seed Company so we will let you know how we get on.
Organic Reine Des Glaces Toothed Crisphead Lettuce
Australian Yellowleaf Lettuce (Looseleaf)
Organic Devils Tongue Romaine Lettuce
Organic Emerald Oakleaf Lettuce
Dark Roden Deep-red Lettuce