perfect time to begin growing lettuce in an easy way
you can do all summer. Fiona Lawrenson shows how to
get a full and fashionable salad bowl
Its that time again.
Sun drenched days in which the long grass gently sways
in the breeze. Swallows dip and dive through the blue
sky. Bees with their contented hum sip nectar from an
abundance of summer flowers and I lie back and think
Lettuce is no longer
about sliced Icebergs or soggy Butterheads. Anyone who
knows anything about gardening is growing interesting,
colourful, peppery and flavoursome salad crops. They
are in every supermarket, but the price for the slightly
more unusual can be astronomical. But take heart, they
aren't difficult to grow! Whether planted in a large
potager or a balcony pot - these plants can be grown
all through the summer. The ‘salad days’
My ideal salad bowl would have to include a loose-leaf
lettuce such as Lollo Rossa, rocket (or is it roquette
these days!), Lamb’s lettuce and New Zealand spinach.
Your lettuce will grow best in full sun to light shade
in a light and fertile soil that retains some moisture.
Sow your seed little and often. The germination rate
of lettuces can be a little ‘hit and miss’,
depending on the weather. If the weather is too hot,
germination is generally poor. I prefer to sow straight
into the soil in late April/early May in the south;
2 – 3 weeks later in the north. Seeds should be
sown in rows ½” deep and 6” apart. Once
they have germinated, thin out the seedlings to between
6” – 8” apart. This will take place
approximately 4 weeks after sowing. To ensure growth,
give the seedlings plenty of water. This is best done
in the morning as it limits the chances of downy mildew.
To harvest your loose-leaf lettuce varieties either
remove a few leaves at a time or cut the plant completely
back to 4” high and wait for it to respond. Hence
the term ‘cut-and-come-again’.
here for our great selection of lettuce and other
reprinted with premission from Greenfingers.com