New World Little Gardens

lettuce pattern
lettuce

Lettuce

Lactuca sativa

This ‘Crisphead’ lettuce is a summer salad staple, lettuce is at its crispest and sweetest straight from the garden.

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Getting started

  • Put the soil tablet on a saucer and pour 50ml of water over it.
  • Put on gloves and mix the water into the soil with your hands to make a wet mixture. Watch the soil expand.
  • Use most of your soil to fill up the pot to around 2cm below the top.
  • Now place your seed mat on top of the soil (take care not to press down too hard).
  • Now use the rest of your soil mixture to cover the seed mat.
  • Remember to wash your hands when you’re done!

How to keep your Little Garden healthy

  • Place the pot on a clean saucer in a place with enough light, but not directly in the sun.
  • Check the soil in the morning, and before bed. If the soil feels dry and crumbly, pour a small amount of clean water over the surface.
  • Within a few days you should see a little plant appear from the soil. That means the seeds have germinated and will be ready soon to move into a bigger pot or garden.
  • If more than one little plant grows, you can thin your lettuce seedling by choosing the strongest-looking one and removing the others. You can eat the picked seedlings like microgreens.

 

When your seedling is ready to go in the garden

  • When the lettuce is about as tall as your finger  (in approx. 1 month), it’s ready to shift into the garden or pot.
  • Get your lettuce used to life outside: you can harden off your lettuce seedling by putting it in a warm and sheltered spot for 1-2 hours a day and return inside for the night. Do this for 4-5 days, leaving it outside for a little longer each day before you shift it out into the garden forever.

 

Planting best practice

  • Give your lettuce a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade, especially in hotter parts of the country. In full sun, lettuce is likely to bolt to seed and will start to taste bitter.
  • Lettuce is easy to grow in a pot, but make sure to water it regularly.

Look after your plant while it’s growing

Harvest time

  • As soon as the lettuce head forms, but before the outer leaves turn brown (in approx. 5-6 weeks) the lettuce is ready to harvest.

Watch out

  • Lettuce can be affected by downy mildew, a fungal infection that causes a white film on the leaves. If you notice this, remove affected leaves and spray the plant weekly with a milk and baking soda spray.
  • Slugs and snails will nibble on young plants, so create your own pest protection, lay out bait or pick off these slimy pests.
  • Consider protecting each plant with a cover (cloche) made from a used plastic bottle.

Lettuce in your gardens