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Growing Lettuce from Seed vs. Direct Sowing Lettuce

(aka Fresh Picked Salad for One)

by Maria G.

A great deal of thought and planning takes place when I look over the selections in the seed catalog in November. I hope to choose interesting varieties of seed that do well in my NJ garden and taste great when prepared for the table.

Lettuce is an early crop which grows best in cool temperatures. You can either start your seeds in early spring and transplant into the garden beds for an early harvest... or, direct-seed them into your garden without the extra steps.

Starting Lettuce Seed Indoors

My newest seed experience included a single seed packet with a variety of many types of lettuce. I started the seed early (as the weather permitted), then transplanted my newly sprouted seedlings into the garden beds. Then I moved the rest to plastic pots to remain on the patio.

For the growing table, I propped up an old door in the basement and rigged a fluorescent light from a chain to provide the light needed to grow sturdy, healthy plants. Within a month, an exciting array of shapes and colors were growing in the pots, with colors ranging from light green to rosy red to brilliant mahogany. On April 11, 2013 I picked a leaf here and there, and served a crisp and sweet, single-serve salad for one!

Direct-Seeding Lettuce into Your Garden Beds

Use a hoe to break up clumps of dirt, and then a rake to smooth out the soil. Once you have worked a bed smooth, dampen the soil a bit. You can use an old yard stick to measure the spacing between plants – for lettuce, this can be anywhere from 6 to 10 inches depending on the quality of your soil and the depth of your beds (the better the quality and the deeper your garden beds, the less space you'll need). I use a small piece of branch to poke my seed holes about a half-inch deep before dropping the seeds in. If you are a new gardener, you may also wish to put a small amount of horticultural vermiculite into each hole.

Once all your seed holes have been spaced and prepped, drop 2 seeds into each hole and then cover with ¼ inch of vermiculite. Keep the planted area gently watered. When the seedlings emerge, fertilize with fish emulsion to further strengthen the plants. Simply add 1 Tablespoon of the fish emulsion to your filled watering can, and then water with this solution once per week, in addition to your usual watering.

Baby Lettuce: matures in 25 days
Fully Mature Lettuce: matures in 35 to 68 days

Remember to check the seed name and the days to maturity when making selections for your garden. Of course, you'll want to keep a variety of lettuce types readily available.


Guest contributor Maria G. is a budding author and long-time gardener who has been growing her own organic produce in NJ for more than 30 years.

GardenBedsNJ.com is owned by Mike Hyde and 4 Season's Lawn Care. We build, deliver and install raised garden beds to Hunterdon and Warren Counties in NJ and Northampton County, PA.

Contact us for more information: 908 783 5733 or email mikehyde@4seasonslawns.com today!

 


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SPRING GARDENING ZONE 6

Chemical-Free Pest Control for Your NJ Organic Garden

Grow Better Tomatoes by Amending the Soil

Growing Herbs in NJ Zone 6 Instant Download E-Guide

Determinate vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes

Growing Tomatoes from Seed

Buying Good Garden Soil in Hunterdon, NJ

What Type of Soil is Right for My Raised Garden Beds?

What Vegetables to Plant on May 15

Ode to the Turnip

Best Seed Catalogs

When and How to Start Prepping Your Garden Beds in New Jersey

When to Plant Early Spring Vegetables in NJ

Garden Planning in February? Yes! Get Ready for Spring Planting in NJ

Getting Your Raised Garden Beds Ready for Spring Planting

Is Rototilling Necessary? To Till or Not to Till Your NJ Garden Beds

Garden Planting Dates for NJ Zone 6

How to Plant Peas When There is Snow on the Ground

What to Do When You Miss Your Planting Date

Baking the Weed Seeds Out of Your Garden Beds

Planting Onions in Early Spring in NJ Zone 6

Broccoli Planting Instructions for NJ Zone 6

Sacrificial Carrot: How to Make Your NJ Carrot Crop Go the Distance

How to Grow Strawberries Organically

How to Plant Cucumbers in NJ Zone 6

Growing Herbs Successfully in NJ Zone 6

Spring Gardening in NJ: What to Plant on May 15?

Mid Spring Gardening Upkeep

 

ORGANIC COMPOST & FERTILIZERS

Organic Composting Q&A

Mulch Q&A for Vegetable Gardens

Choosing a Fertilizer for Your Vegetable Garden

6 Quick Tips for Gardening Without the Use of Chemical Fertilizers or Pesticides

 

GROWING VEGETABLES FROM SEED

How Long Do Garden Seeds Last? Seed Viability Chart

How to Grow Vegetables from Seed

Growing Lettuce from Seed vs. Direct Sowing Lettuce

Growing Tomatoes from Seed