I have acquired a selection of lettuce seeds, so hopefully I will be eating a lot of varied salads this Summer!
Here’s some Lollo Rosso seeds that I had leftover from last year. I just sprinkled them randomly into my herb pot where I had some space and they’ve germinated quite nicely. I learned last year that they don’t like being moved, so I didn’t bother sowing them indoors and transplanting them this year.
Once the seedlings have grown a bit bigger I will start thinning out the smaller ones to create gaps between plants. Apparently the plants should be 20cm apart, otherwise they won't mature properly, so I will probably move 1 or 2 of them if they get really big.
Here’s a trough that I’ve half filled with compost and I’ve split into 2 sections to grow different lettuce. On the left I’ve sown Little Gem seeds in 4 corners of the space, and on the right I’ve sown a row of rocket seeds. I watered with a spray bottle so that it didn’t dislodge the seeds.
I’ve covered the trough with one of my propagator lids, mainly to prevent anything digging up my seeds as that was a big problem last year.
The Lollo Rosso is coming along nicely. I’ll probably start thinning them when they’re double this size, as then I’ll be able to use any thinnings for a salad or in a sandwich. The wire that you can see in the photo is my slug/snail deterrent. I pulled the wire off an old bounded diary and then just stretched it out so that it went around the whole pot. So far it’s worked a treat, along with some WD40 sprayed around the pot!
The rocket seeds have germinated and I’ve been watering them nearly every day as it’s been so warm lately. I’ll start harvesting leaves as soon as they’re as long as my thumb, as the more you pick the more will grow. You can cut a few leaves at a time or slice off the whole plant about 3cm above the surface of the soil. I’ll probably sow another row in the first week of May so I have a steady supply of leaves.
The Little Gem seeds have sprouted too. I sowed a few seeds in each corner of their section in the trough, so I will thin them out when they’re a little bit bigger. This is a Cos type of lettuce, which means it will develop a heart and become an oval shape with long crisp leaves. They will take longer to grow than the Rocket and Lollo Rosso as they are loose-leaf varieties.
I’m really pleased at how well all my lettuce is growing. The Lollo Rosso were growing so big and had hardly any room to grow because I’d planted them so close together that I started thinning them out. I transplanted one seedling from my herb pot into my lettuce pot (in the middle section of the Little Gem) and it’s doing quite nicely now.
I also had to thin out the Little Gems as they are starting to fight each other for space. I transplanted some into my raised bed and also some in another row in the Rocket section.
The Rocket is starting to look like a rampant weed as it’s growing so fast. Even though my lettuce trough is mostly covered with a large propagator lid and I sprayed WD40 on the outside rim, a snail or slug has been having a good old munch as it left behind a telltale trail of slime as evidence!
The Rocket is now ready for cutting but I haven’t been at home lately to make myself a nice salad! There are still holes in a few leaves but no slime trail, so I’m not sure what’s been having a good old nibble on my lettuce.
The Little Gems are doing OK but they’ve got a little way to go before they’re ready for eating.
The Lollo Rosso that I moved into the lettuce trough has been totally eaten by something! But I’ve still got some more plants in my herb pot so all is not lost.
My Dad gave me a 3-tiered planter so I moved all my lettuce into it and it’s really thriving since the slugs/snails can’t climb up! I also mixed in some water retaining crystals into the compost to stop it drying out so quickly.
This is my Little Gem lettuce after I cut it right back before we went on a week’s holiday. I’m still amazed at how it can grow back with new leaves time and time again.