Growing lettuce from seed is just about one of the easiest things to grow in a garden. There is nothing like picking a basket full of lettuce to make a healthy salad. I like to grow my lettuce as soon as I can get my seeds into the ground. The variety of lettuce to grow by seed is endless. I also use a technique that allows me to have fresh lettuce all spring, summer, and fall.
Most lettuce likes to grow in cooler climates. Direct full sun and heat will cause your lettuce to go to seed or bolt very quickly, which causes the lettuce to flower and turn bitter. All is not lost. You can allow some of your lettuce go to seed and use those seeds the next year. Generally, lettuce will grow better in the spring and fall. If you have a nice shady spot in the summer to grow your lettuce, it can do very well.
Rotating You Lettuce
I like to use a method of rotating my seed sowing so I continuously have fresh lettuce all season long. The idea behind this technique is to start your first seeds as soon as you can. Here in New England, I have to wait until April to get things growing in my hoop house. I have one raised bed that I built that allows me to place a large piece of plastic over it acting like a greenhouse. This allows my seeds to stay warm and protected from the elements.
Using Half The Raised Bed
I sow my seeds in only 1/2 of my raised bed. The other half I leave open. Once my lettuce has germinated and the plants are about 2 to 3 inches tall I remove the plastic and then I place seeds in the other half of the bed. So when my first round of lettuce is done growing and turning to seed. My second round I planted is now ready with fresh young lettuce. Now you can remove the first round of old and bolted lettuce and reseed that section with new seeds. Just keep rotating and pulling the growing lettuce for each side and you will have fresh lettuce all season long.
Stowing Lettuce Seeds
I like to use two different techniques when growing lettuce from seed. One is to carve out small rows and sow my seeds directly into each row with a little organic fertilizer.
Other Stowing Seed Techniques
Burpee has a good way of sowing lettuce seeds in this video.
The other technique is to dust the area with seeds and fertilizer and just use your hand to scatter the seeds around the dirt.
P. Allen Smith has a great technique.
Here is what I use to sow my seeds:
This is a super little gadget that allows you to fill it with seeds and tap to disperse. Nice for seed control. See how it works in the first video.
You should thin your lettuce as described in the first video. Once the lettuce has grown in size, you can start by picking the outer leaves to compile enough for a salad. The leaves will continue to grow and form. Just keep picking until the lettuce bolts or turns bitter. Then you know it is time to reseed that patch. When you have enough, just wash and enjoy.
Growing your own lettuce from seed is a healthy way to eat. It offers you fresh organic food. It’s fun and easy to grow. If you have kids, it’s a great way to get them involved in growing food. So get out there and plant some seeds and start enjoying fresh lettuce.
Are you growing lettuce from seed?