Growing Lettuce in the Garden
Instead of buying the bland lettuce at the grocery store, you should try growing your own healthy lettuce in the vegetable garden. The perfect time to grow lettuce is between the fall and winter because weather conditions are just right. With cooler temperatures, these excellent varieties of lettuce are less likely to bolt in the vegetable garden. This allows us to not only have a continuous harvest throughout the growing season but we can succession plant lettuce as well. For succession planting we usually plant a new crop of lettuce in the ground around every 4 weeks this ensures us lettuce all throughout the wintertime. We begin growing lettuce by transplanting in our seed starting trays. Once they start to emerge in the tray we thin them to one plant per cell. Typically these excellent varieties of lettuce take 3 to 4 weeks before they are ready to be transplanted into the garden area. When they become ready to plant in the garden we prefer to plant them in double rows with drip tape buried in the middle. We use drip irrigation to provide all the water and nutrients directly to the plant roots. We space the lettuce transplants about 8 inches apart along the row because once the heads get larger they will cover that entire area. Lettuce varieties require an adequate amount of fertilization to supply the plants with nutrients for healthy growth. If they do not get enough plant nutrients the lettuce will end up turning a yellow color and will not form large solid heads. We recommend injecting some 20-20-20 into our drip system that is buried beside of lettuce transplants. The 20-20-20 is a water-soluble fertilizer that has the three major macronutrients that plants need — phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium. We can also side-dress them with Chilean Nitrate so we apply it alongside the plant row. Chilean Nitrate is an organic nitrate nitrogen nutrient source that contains micronutrients such as iodine and selenium. Then, take our Wheel Hoe to incorporate it along beside the lettuce plants in the vegetable garden. By applying the accurate amount of fertilizer and water to plants it ensures that we will get healthy productive lettuce all throughout the growing season.
Excellent Varieties of Lettuce
On this week’s episode, Travis talks about his favorite lettuce varieties to grow in the vegetable garden. If you are getting tired of eating the same iceberg lettuce from the grocery store, you should branch out and try a new variety of lettuce. Travis has two excellent varieties of lettuce that are packed full of flavor and nutrients. The Parris Island Romaine is a productive and flavorful heirloom variety. It works great for baby-leaf harvests, but also produce heavy upright heads that can get around 12 inches tall. Travis’s next variety of lettuce that he loves to grow is Butter Crunch. This variety works great in salads and wraps because it contains a smooth, buttery texture and flavor profile. They have soft large heads that are best consumed shortly after harvest. Another lettuce variety we like to grow is the pelleted, Skyphos Butterhead Lettuce. This is a red butterhead variety that has a dark red exterior with green interior. It also has great texture and flavor profile with disease-resistance to downy mildew and lettuce mosaic virus. A few other lettuce varieties we offer are Calshot Romaine, Harmony Butterhead, Starfighter, Salad Bowl Red, and Black Seeded Simpson. The Calshot, Harmony, and Starfighter lettuce are all pelleted seeds which makes it easier for planting in seed trays. All of these excellent varieties of lettuce will supply your garden with productive and healthy plants.