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Planting Lettuce At Home
Stop throwing the stems of your lettuce away - here's how you can use them to plant more at home!
D.G. Sciortino
09.29.17

Want to strike one more thing off of your grocery list? Start with lettuce. You don’t need to be an expert gardener to grow your own. You don’t even need a garden.

You can grow your very own lettuce out of a container. It will be crisp, wholesome, organic, and, best of all, free. It’s also one of the easier veggies to grow in a container which you can harvest in just six to eight weeks.

Here’s how:

Step 1) Pick a Pot

It’s best to use a container that is shallow and wide since lettuce’s roots aren’t deep and the plant only grows to be six to 12 inches.

Piglet in Portugal
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Piglet in Portugal

Step 2) Make Sure You Have Adequate Drainage

Your container should have lots of drainage holes so that excess water can run out and your plant doesn’t drown. You can use an electric drill or a hammer and a nail to put holes in your container.

The Micro Gardener
Source:
The Micro Gardener

Step 3) Have Proper Soil

It’s best to fill your container with professional potting soil rather than garden soil since it will hold more moisture and keep your plants well fed.

DIY Network
Source:
DIY Network

Step 4) Choose Your Lettuce Type

You’ll want to choose a type of lettuce that’s easy to cut and will quickly grow again. The six “cut-and-come-again” types of lettuce are iceberg, mizuna, arugula, red mustard, red Russian kale, pak choi.

Rodale's Organic Life
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Rodale's Organic Life

Step 5) Plant Away

There are three ways to plant lettuce: sowing seeds, planting seedlings, and potting a stem from kitchen scraps after you take all the leaves off of it.

Buffalo-Niagara Gardening
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Buffalo-Niagara Gardening

Step 6) Space Properly

Your lettuce will grow best if you plant it 4 to 6 inches apart.

The Loop
Source:
The Loop

Step 7) Give It Sunshine Minus the Heat

Lettuce needs sunlight to grow but make sure you place your container in the shade on hot days. This will prevent it from drying out.

Grow It Organically
Source:
Grow It Organically

Step 8) Let It Drink A Lot

Your soil should be kept slightly moist at all times to prevent your plant from drying out.

The Spruce
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The Spruce

Step 9) Feed Your Plant

Since lettuce grows so rapidly, you’ll only need to fertilize it once or twice. Wait a couple of weeks after you’ve planted your seedlings before you fertilize.

Th Spruce
Source:
Th Spruce

Step 10) Bolt

Sometimes lettuce will grow what looks like spikes that try to go to seed when the temperatures grow too high. This is referred to as bolting and is irreversible. To prevent your lettuce from bolting, be sure to keep them well watered and in the shade during hot days.

University of Maryland Extension
Source:
University of Maryland Extension

Step 11) Beware of Pests

Treat your plant for pests immediately with horticultural soap if you spot insects like aphids.

inra.fr
Source:
inra.fr

Step 12) Harvest and Eat

Gardener's Supply Company
Source:
Gardener's Supply Company

Carefully cut the outside of the leaves of your lettuce leaf when the plant is 4 to 6 inches tall. They should be young and tender when you cut them. If you wait too long they will bolt and become bitter.

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By D.G. Sciortino
hi@sbly.com
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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