Would you like to walk outside and pick fresh lettuce from your backyard? Make this scenario a reality by completing the following seven simple steps. Lettuce is easy to grow in containers as it does not require much space. It grows quickly and contains a multitude of vitamins and minerals.
Spring has arrived, so it’s the perfect time to plant your garden. It’s easy to start a small vegetable garden in planters. I even use pots that I have other plants in and sprinkle the seed along the edge.
The following seven steps will get you fresh vegetables:
- Purchase an organic spring mix of lettuces and kale seeds or whatever variety of salad greens you enjoy. Almost all lettuce varieties grow well in pots. If you want to grow spinach, I had the best luck when I purchased small plants versus seeds. If you want to add variety, buy an herb or two to add to the containers.
- If you don’t have a planter, purchase one with drainage holes at the bottom. A wide shallow one works great as lettuce does not grow deep roots. You could also use an eco-friendly cloth bag. Add some soil, and you are ready to plant.
- In early spring right after the last frost, plant your seeds by sprinkling them on the soil, pat the seeds into the soil with the palm of your hand. The seeds don’t have to go very deep into the soil.
- Immediately water the seeds after planting. Continue to water them twice weekly, if it doesn’t rain.
Place your planter in a location where it gets several hours of direct sunlight.
- In 7 to 10 days your seeds should germinate and start growing.
- After a month, harvest the lettuce by picking the leaves from the outer side of the plant. Leave the center leaves, and your lettuce will continue growing until it gets hot—when temperatures reach the high 80s or 90s.
Think of how convenient it will be to walk outside and pick a fresh salad for dinner. Another benefit is that what you grow will not contain pesticides. Kale and spinach were listed in the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Dirty Dozen as having high concentrations of pesticides. You will have a bounty that will be organic, and you will no longer need to purchase lettuce from the store.
By Susan U. Neal RN, MBA, MHS
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