Lettuce seeds can be a wonderful addition to your gardening arsenal. They are tasty enough on their own, but even more so when they are planted in salads or mixed with other vegetables. Lettuce is a favorite of many people, making it an excellent choice for gardeners. The key to growing lettuce from seed successfully is to get them in the right place, to germinate, and to stay healthy.
Lettuce seeds need warmth. Most varieties will grow quite well if you grow them in the early spring, but you may find that some varieties have slow growth habits. When you try to grow lettuce seeds from cuttings, make sure you don't allow the roots to get too close together. If they do, the plant may not produce any fruits.
When you're ready to plant your seed, you'll need to dig a hole two to three inches deep, and then put your seed in. If possible, plant your seed directly into the ground. Direct sow seeds onto a thin layer of soil or compost before planting, and be sure to plant in the shade. Keep the soil moist but not damp, and watch the plants carefully to see if they grow. It usually takes about three weeks for a plant to begin producing leaves. Once they are about ten leaves in length, you can remove them and plant new ones in their place.
To ensure success when you are growing seeds from cuttings, be sure to give them plenty of, if not the whole lot, sun during the first two weeks after they are transplanted. This will encourage their roots to grow tightly, resulting in healthy growth. If you place your bulbs or cuttings in a sunny window, however, they may not prosper as well. They should also receive fertilizer in the early weeks of growing.
Harvesting lettuce is an easy task: simply grab your bin, grab your scissors, and cut off the chosen number of seedlings per plant. Then set them in a secure location away from windows and fans. When the chaff starts to appear on top of your harvested heads, simply blow away the excess chaff with a blower or hose, removing it from the stems and allowing the seeds to germinate.
Lettuce is ideal for gardeners who like to grow their own vegetables. It grows quickly, so you can expect to harvest about four plants each week. Grow the seeds indoors, about twelve weeks prior to harvesting, in a plastic pot that has been covered with a damp paper towel. Allow about one inch of space between each plant. When the chaff appears, simply remove the seeds from the young plants and use a sharp pair of garden shears to trim the plants back to about four inches tall.
Trim the leeks close to the base and then allow the leaves to grow up toward the crown. Remove any brown or discolored leaves on the stem and, while looking at the remaining seedlings, select two or three plants to grow up toward the top of the pot. This will be your backup seedlings should you experience problems with one or two of your main seedlings. The final step is to fill in the hole with water, but leave the drainage holes open.
Plant lettuce seeds and watch them grow! While these seedlings need light, they do best when the soil they are growing in has adequate amounts of dissolved organic matter (D organic) and nitrogen. These nutrients make the soil more acidic, which helps to germinate the seeds.
As the plant seeds germinate, you will need to move them outdoors to start harvesting. During the first few weeks, the lettuce will be tender and you can gently pull them as they grow. Harvest them right after the first bloom appears. Harvesting before the first bloom appears will result in smaller harvests.
After harvesting the plants, you should store the seeds in a clean glass airtight container. Place them in an area where they will be out of contact with weeds and pests. Keep them in an area where the temperature stays fairly constant. This will help the seeds from getting damaged by extreme temperatures.
Make sure that the area the seeds are growing in remains relatively dry. You should check the germination site regularly to harvest the plants. Harvesting lettuce from an area that has a lot of moisture may result in a slower germination period. It also can make germination more difficult if the area is overgrown with grass or bushes. If you keep the seed bed to dry it will help your lettuce plants from taking up a lot of space in your garden.