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So why haven’t you started your organic garden yet? Don’t think your small contribution will be significant? Of course it will, if for no other reason than to set and example for others. Besides, you know the saying, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!” Your days of making excuses are over. And here’s one less; you don’t even need a garden. You can grow your own healthy lettuce without even leaving the house. Here are some indoor lettuce growing tips to help you start preparing and caring for your own beautiful indoor lettuce garden.
- Choose a type of lettuce that is suited for growing in a container. Loose leaf varieties work well, especially if their name includes the word “baby,” or something to that effect.
- Find a medium sized plastic pot. Because lettuce does not have deep roots, a medium sized container should be efficient. Plastic works better than clay, since clay will absorb water and dry out soil. Check to make sure your container has drainage holes to let excess water escape as needed.
- Make sure your container is clean. Bacteria and insect eggs lurk inside dirty pots. While soap and water should do a sufficient cleansing job, a solution made of nine parts water and one part bleach will provide a more sterile environment for your plant.
- Use standard potting soil. Lettuce is not very high maintenance, so you can skip the fancy stuff, but that don’t use dirt from your garden, which may contain bacteria.
- Fill the pot with soil, leaving about an inch of empty space at the top of the container.
- Pour one to two dozen seeds in your hand. Pinch them with your fingers and sprinkle over the top of the soil. You don’t need to worry too much about spacing.
- Cover the seeds with 1/8 to 1/4 inch soil. Exceeding this amount may prevent the seeds from receiving adequate light.
- Spritz with water.
- Give the lettuce seeds a sprinkling of water in the morning. Keep in mind that the soil needs to be continually moist to allow germination to occur.
- The general guideline is to water the plant every other day, but watering frequency may vary due to the amount of sun and temperature. Check the moisture level of the soil by sticking your finger in a half inch of the way. If the soil feels dry, it’s probably a sign that the lettuce is due for a watering.
- Keep the lettuce cool. A room temperature of 60 to 70 degrees is best. Drop temperatures by ten degrees at night to imitate natural growing conditions.
- Place the pot near the sunniest place possible. To grow full leaves, lettuce seedlings require 14 to 16 hours of bright light.
- Buy a fluorescent grow light. Yes, this will be an investment, but it will be well worth it to have bushy healthy heads of lettuce at your disposal. Place the container 4 inches under a grow light fro 14 hours, but be sure to turn it off after the time passes, as too much light will have an adverse effect on plants.
- Afters seedlings get their second set of leaves, they will need to be thin. Pull out the weakest one, making sure to keep a three-inch space between those remaining to give them enough room to grow.
- Use a mild fertilizer (optional) While lettuce does well on its own, a mild fertilizer mixed with water may increase your yield.
- Harvest lettuce. Immature leaves are just as safe and taste just as good as mature lettuce. As soon as you like what you see, collect the individual leaves, pulling outer leaves out first and working inward.
- Lettuce eat!
Are you growing your own lettuce? Lettuce know how its going! We want to hear all about your adventures!