How to grow lettuce
Choose a spot in your space that sits in full sun.
Most Aussie climates are suitable, with the exception of heavy frost.
Lettuce requires a well-drained soil enriched with compost and decomposed manure.
Keep the soil moist and water regularly, especially in dry or hot conditions. Do not allow to dry out, but do not be tempted to overwater in humid environments.
Water at soil level, rather than overhead, to minimise risk of disease.
Feed it with soluble fertiliser every couple of weeks.
Diseases and pests
Snails and slugs are a constant problem for lettuce crops. Protect with snail and slug pellets and traps.
How to grow lettuce in pots
Sprinkle a pinch of lettuce seeds over soil in a small pot. Cover with 1cm of soil and give the seeds a good drink.
Label pots with the lettuce varieties you’ve planted. Write names on icy pole sticks and poke into the soil.
Place the pots in a sunny spot and remember to water them once or twice a day so the roots don’t dry out.
Once the lettuce grows to about 10cm, turn the plants out of the pots and transplant to a garden bed.
Pick the outer leaves as you need them (rather than pulling up the whole plant) and your lettuce will continue to grow more leaves for you. It’s time to remove the plant when the leaves taste bitter.
Types to try
Try butter lettuce, red oak leaf and curly endive. The fancy-leaf types such as oakleaf and coral are speedy growers, with leaves ready to pick after about 3–4 weeks.
If you love the sweet yet piquant flavour of cos, grow it at home for a continuous, year-round harvest.
Remove just the outer leaves before it reaches maturity, or cut the whole mature plant just above the soil surface. Extend their production by harvesting only the outer leaves and letting the plant regrow. These plants can go on producing for many weeks.
Hints and tips
Try to group vegies that grow to about the same height and mature about the same time. This lets them share sunlight and means, after harvest, the whole section can be dug up and prepared for your next crops.
You might also like: