Garden Lettuce

This is it! No more grocery store lettuce…is my pledge. This right here is my first lettuce harvest of 2018, but the beginning of a quest to grow and pick lettuce year-round. With so many different ways to grow lettuce, even in cold northern climates, such as our zone 6b area, year-round homegrown garden lettuce is a distinct possibility.

Lettuce in the Garden

This is where my lettuce is growing now. I started seeds in March and April and transplanted then to the garden in early May. This year, my lettuce seedlings were placed (along with most other crops) in holes in landscape fabric laid over garden rows. This technique keeps the rows looking tidy and eliminates most weeding.

I love romaines, butter and leaf-type lettuces, plus some iceberg and frisee. So many beautiful and tasty varieties! All of these types of lettuce can be harvested as small baby lettuces or, as I prefer, left to grow larger for more crunch and texture. I harvest the largest leaves from each plant, combining them to make a colorful and interesting mix for this week’s salads.

Lettuce in Containers

Before moving to our 6-acre homestead, we lived in town on 1/10th of an acre. Even on that tiny plot, it was possible to grow substantial harvests of many types of vegetables, fruit and even meat. There, I learned to save precious garden space by growing lettuce in self-watering window box containers around our deck.

This worked out great…salad greens were just steps from the kitchen, easy to harvest and care for, and attractive.

Lettuce in the Hoop House

Soon, my friends, a large hoop house will be erected in a sunny spot on our property. It is inside of this structure that I hope to grow lettuce through the cold and dark northeast Ohio winters.

Having read and studied about the method, the plan is to start cold-hardy lettuce and other vegetables inside the hoop house in August-October. Then, as the inevitable deep freezes hit around December-February, the lettuce will be covered with a second layer of protective row cover fabric or plastic. The second covering can be removed to harvest fresh crisp lettuce on any sunny day when temperatures inside the hoop house raise above freezing.

We will see how this works out!

Lettuce Indoors

Finally, lettuce can be grow successfully indoors. I have grown seedlings in cell packs under fluorescent lights in preparation for transplanting outside for many years. But, I have also planted and grown lettuce in the window box containers inside under fluorescent or grow lights, harvesting a few times before moving the boxes outside. This is a treat in early spring before outside gardening is possible.Another option is an Aerogarden. Although I don’t have one, I know several people who do…they are fun little gadgets! Lettuce seed pods are available, or you can put your favorite lettuce seeds in a Grow Anything pod and enjoy watching the lettuce grow before harvesting your salads, inside the comfort of your home!So, will you join me a challenge to quit buying (or at least cut down) on buying grocery store lettuce?

One Comment

  • Greg

    I agree about the Aerogarden. I have had mine for 2 years. First winter I grew lettuce, the second winter I grew 2 varieties of cherry tomatoes. Both times it was a pleasure to harvest and eat the freshly grown veggies.

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