The lettuce (Lettuce sativa) can be grown in the garden, in a vegetable patch, on the terrace or balcony. It can therefore be planted in the ground or in a jar. It is an extremely popular salad, both for its ease of cultivation than for the tenderness of its leaves, the flavor of which is exceptionally sweet. This plant of the family of Asteraceae is edible about 5 to 6 weeks after planting. Let’s take stock of the ideal growing conditions for lettuce, and list the few basic needs that must be met to harvest a tasty garden product.
Sowing / Planting lettuces
You can opt for seedlings, namely:
- And sheltered seeds From December to March for sowing in the nursery under tunnel. The protection should be removed when all risk of frost has passed. This type of seed requires transplanting.
- And semi in place :
- From April to early June for summer lettuce,
- From May to the end of June for fall lettuce,
- August to end of September for winter lettuce.
Regardless of the period chosen, a thinning is required when the very first lettuce leaves emerge, so that only the vigorous plants are kept, which must be about thirty centimeters apart from each other in order to have enough room to develop.
Gardeners wishing skip the sowing stage can very well buy lettuce plants in pots in order to transplant them immediately, either in the ground or in pots. Then just do the following:
- Dig holes 35 to 40 cm deep every 25 to 30 cm, knowing that it is possible to use a chalk line if you want the lettuces to be perfectly aligned.
- Cut with a sharp knife about 1/3 of the leaves of each young plant to facilitate recovery because thanks to this trick, the evaporation of water is considerably reduced. We also take the opportunity to remove withered or damaged leaves.
- Position one seedling per hole, making sure that the collar is flush with the ground level.
- Fill the hole by bringing garden soil around the root ball.
- Tamp lightly.
- Water from the neck of the watering can, being careful not to dig into the soil around the young lettuces.
It will then suffice to proceed with the renewal of lettuce plantations to collect regularly. It is advisable to quantify your needs before buying the plants so as not to produce more than necessary. It is up to everyone to anticipate their crops according to the needs of their family.
Lettuce is a annual plant who is satisfied with ordinary ground and likes to be installed under the sun like a partial shade. You can hardly find less demanding, which is perfect regardless of gardening experience. Lettuce can even be grown by someone who has never seen a watering can except in pictures! And that’s good news, because this plant, which is eaten raw in a salad or just blanched as an accompaniment, is absolutely delicious and is a slimming ally. The icing on the cake, if you organize your plantations well, you can harvest lettuce almost all year round.
All you have to do is plant different varieties of lettuce according to the advice of a specialist available to customers in any good garden centre. It is also the ideal place for buy the lettuce plant in a bucketready to be transplanted.
Caring for your lettuces
Lettuce is the salad that all hobbyists can grow without any gardening experience. All you need to do is give it the following care.
Make sure to water the lettuces regularly most with moderation, just to prevent the soil from drying out to the point of hardening. Beware of excessive watering which is absolutely not desirable.
Protect winter lettuce from freezing
Winter lettuce is still in the ground when the first frosts hit. In anticipation of the frost, it is strongly recommended to protect your lettuces in the garden as well as in pots by covering them with a winter sail for example. In the vegetable garden, you can also use a simple tunnel which allows the light to pass through which the lettuces absolutely need to continue to grow.
Lettuce is a real treat for slugs and snails. Gastropod attacks are avoided by simply spreading ashes around lettuces.
Its tender leaves are also much sought after by many birds who like to peck them. To keep them away from the vegetable garden, and therefore such appetizing lettuces, you can use subterfuge by installing different devices in the rows of lettuces that the first gust of wind can animate. This is a good way because you can scare the birds away without hurting them.
Lettuce is not susceptible to any particular disease.
Harvest the lettuce
This is before bolting to harvest the lettuce. As soon as a lettuce has reached the desired size, it is ready to be harvested. No need to wait for it to become monstrously big because its leaves lose their tenderness after a while.
To harvest lettuce, it is above all necessary not pull out the root since it will produce new leaves, and therefore a new salad to harvest a few weeks later. We take a knife with a very sharp blade, and we cut the lettuce 2 or 3 cm above the collar so as to leave this small white part in place.
To take advantage of the next lettuces once the first harvest has been completed, do not forget to keep watering regularly (pot or vegetable garden) because the soil must remain sufficiently moist.
Ideally, lettuce is eaten the day of harvest. This is the best guarantee to taste a product from the garden full of flavor and ultra fresh. If you have to keep it, it is essential to place it in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator where it can be kept for two or three days. It is therefore advisable to pass it through water beforehand, to wring it well in a salad spinner, and once the leaves are perfectly dry, to wrap them in a clean cloth before putting them in the fridge. It will be enough to prepare a good vinaigrette sauce at the time of tasting.