14) Each week two heads of lettuce (two lettuce heads a week)

sla onder potjes of open tunnel

sla warm droog 45

In this tip:

  • Sowing lettuce at hot, dry weather (new)
  • Short description with photos
  • Why 2 heads of lettuce each week
  • A)# December to March (winter months and early spring). Sow indoors. Plant out in the garden soil in a tunnel greenhouse or under small transparent flower pots.
  • B)# Sow in the garden soil from May to August (mid spring until late summer)
  • C)# Sowing lettuce at hot, dry (summer) weather
  • D)# Label or little stick
  • E)# No animals allowed
  • F) Remarks
  • G) Lettuce plants in Sjef’s garden

This post describes how you can harvest 2 heads of lettuce each week from April to December (mid spring to late autumn). This applies to all types of lettuce.

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Sowing lettuce at hot, dry weather

Lettuce seed germinates well between 10 and 20 C (50 and 68 F). When sowing in the garden soil at warm summer weather, only few lettuce plants emerge. This is better:

  1. Sow many lettuce seeds in a group in the garden soil and put 2 flower pots (a big one over a small one) over the group. Under the pots it’s cooler and at least 2 lettuce plants per group will emerge.
  2. Sow lettuce in flower pots with compost (see chapter A). Put the pots at a cool spot (15 to 20 C, 59 to 68 F). Let the emerged plants grow bigger in the pots at a light spot. Replant the plants (5 to 10 centimeters, 2 to 4 inch high) in the garden soil; big lettuce plants are not eaten by slugs or snails.
  3. No cool place: sow lettuce on moist toilet paper. Let the seeds germinate on the paper; between 20 and 30 C (68 and 86 F) many seeds germinate. Put the mini plants in flower pots with compost. Let the plants grow bigger in the pots at a light spot. Replant the plants (5 to 10 centimeters, 2 to 4 inch high) in the garden soil; big lettuce plants are not eaten by slugs or snails.

This procedure (toilet paper, flower pot, plant out when bigger) can be used for every growing of lettuce plants.

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Short description with photos

Below there are photos showing a simple procedure of sowing and growing lettuce in the garden soil from April to July (early spring to mid summer). Sowing and thinning.

See photos above:

  • Each week sow lettuce at 2 spots on the garden soil (5 to 10 seeds per spot). Cover the seeds with a thin layer of moist garden earth.
  • 2 to 4 centimeters (1 to 1.5 inch) high, pull out all small plants except for 2.
  • Bigger than 5 centimeters (2 inch), pull out the smallest plant at each spot.
  • On each spot, 1 plant will grow into a big lettuce head.
  • No replanting of small lettuce plants; plants stay at their original spot.
  • No replanting means less work and no flacid lettuce plants after replanting.
  • Sowing 2 groups of lettuce yields in 2 big lettuce heads.

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Why each week 2 heads of lettuce ?

When you sow 2 groups of lettuce seeds weekly, you will harvest 2 big lettuce heads later weekly. When you need only one lettuce head, you can give away one. When one lettuce head is bolting or is rot, you still have one good lettuce head.

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In this tip, 3 sowing  periods are described:

  • A) December to March (winter months and early spring). Sow indoors. Plant in the garden soil under a tunnel greenhouse or transparent boxes or pots.
  • B) April to August (spring to late summer). Sow in the garden soil.
  • C) Growing lettuce at hot, dry weather. Sow indoors in a flower pot with compost or on moist toilet paper.

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A)# December to March (winter months and early spring). Sow indoors. Plant out in the garden soil in a tunnel greenhouse or under small transparent flower pots.

Sow indoors in December, January, February and March. Lettuce seed does not germinate outdoors now; too cold. Sow indoors once a week.

A1) Sowing

You can sow in a flower pot with compost or potting soil. Or sow lettuce on moist toilet paper and put the mini plants in flower pots with potting soil or compost. More info at chapter  D5) .

You can sow in a plastic flower pot with insert and strip. Taking out the root ball with plants and replanting in the garden soil is very easy then. See    tip 30 .

  • Put strips in flower pots with inserts.

  • Write info on strips.
  • Sowing soil: mixture of potting soil (or compost), sifted manure and agricultural lime.
  • Fill the pots with sowing soil.
  • Press the sowing soil (use bottom of a flower pot). Compressed soil does not fall apart so easily during replanting later.
  • Spray water on the soil in the pots.

pincet zaai

  • You can put lettuce seeds in a cap and pick each seed with tweezers or the moist tip of a cocktail stick

lepeltje

  • Or use a tiny tea spoon to scoop seeds out of the sachet.

zaadjes opgelegd a

  • Put lettuce seeds on the moist sowing soil in the pots.

  • Strew some sieved dry sand (or sieved potting soil) on the seeds.

  • Put the flower pots in a (250 grams) margarine box.
  • (Put rubber bands over the pots and the box).
  • Put a big plastic (450 grams) margarine box over it. The rubber bands keep the top box in its place. But when carefully putting on the top box, rubber bands are not necessary.
  • This construction is a greenhouse made of 2 plastic margarine boxes, see no 1 in  tip 2  .
  • Two small pots fit in this greenhouse and the sowing soil does not dry out.

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Where ?

Lettuce germinates well between 15 and 20 C (59 and 68 F). To find a place in your house where the temperature is good, you can do this:

  • Fill mini greenhouses (each) with 1 flower pot with covered lettuce seeds.
  • Put the greenhouses at various places in your house.
  • Check if there are plants, 4 to 7 days after sowing.

In 2 flower pots (left and middle), little lettuce plants are visible. Pots were at a good place in house. No lettuce plants after 7 days, the greenhouse was at a too cold or too hot place. Or lettuce seed is old.

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Sowing (continued)

Remove the top margarine box as soon as little plants are visible. Removing too late results in thin and long lettuce plants.

Put the plants at a light, cool place indoors (before a window in a bedroom, kitchen or attic). Not at a window at the sunny (south) side; that’s too warm.

Let the plants grow bigger indoors. Put them (at non freezing weather) in the garden soil under a greenhouse tunnel or transparent flower pots. Thin out the plants when needed.

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Growing thin and long

Sometimes, lettuce plants grow very thin and long indoors. Two tips to repair or prevent this way of growing.

Tip 1): Less sowing soil in flower pots.

  • Fill the flower pots with less sowing soil; a little above half.
  • Scatter extra sowing soil between the emerged plants in the flower pots. Press the soil (with tea spoon). Strew more soil and press when needed.
  • Now the plants are at the right level again.
  • Pressing the soil prevents the root ball from falling apart during replanting.

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Tip 2): Removing a layer of sowing soil at the bottom of the root ball.

Did you fill the pots too high with sowing soil, before sowing, do this:

  • Spray water on the sowing soil,
  • Take the root ball with plants out of the pot and put it on a board.
  • Use a small knife to cut soil from the bottom side of the root ball.
  • Carefully put the root ball with small plants in the flower pot again.
  • Slowly push the root ball downward in the flower pot.
  • Scatter extra sowing soil between the plants in the flower pots. Press the soil (with tea spoon). Strew more soil and press when needed.
  • Now the plants are at the right level again.
  • Pressing the soil prevents the root ball from falling apart during replanting.

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A2) Planting out

Before planting outdoors, put the lettuce plants at 10 to 15 C (50 to 59 F) for one day to get used. Put the plants in non frozen garden soil at non freezing weather. When freezing wait a few days.

Below a description of easy putting lettuce plants in the garden soil.

  • Spray water on the soil in the pots and press on the soil in the pots (against falling apart of the root ball).
  • Loosen the garden soil at 2 spots and mix manure/compost and agricultural lime through the garden soil.
  • At each spot, put a pot in the soil and press on soil around the pot.
  • (Or put a tube in the soil, wiggle and take it out to make a \  / – shaped hole).

  • Take the flower pots out of the garden soil.
  • (Or you have made 2 \  / – shaped holes with a tube).

  • At each flower pot, take the insert out of the pot and put it on the soil.

  • At each insert, pull up the plastic strip a little and then release; to release the root ball.
  • Carefully take each root ball from the insert and strip and drop or slide it into a hole.
  • Pour or spray water on the root ball and on the garden soil.

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A3) Protection against cold

In winter, the root ball of a lettuce plant can freeze and the plant will die.

In March (late winter, early spring), lettuce plants grow slowly in the garden soil. It’s too cold. You better put a greenhouse tunnel or transparent pots or boxes over the plants. Info below;

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A3a) Under transparent boxes

You can use transparent plastic packaging boxes for mushrooms, grapes …..  Put them over small lettuce plants in the soil. When needed you can make (more) bottom holes in the box, as follows;

champ bakjes gaatjes 1

champ bakjes gaatjes 2

  • Use a nail (or scissor point) to make a hole in the bottom of the box.
  • Use small sharp scissors to make the hole bigger and round.

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When it is very cold in the garden (February, early March, put 2 transparent boxes over each other over each lettuce plant. As follows:

sla kapje 1

  • The lettuce plant grows in the garden soil.
  • Make a little “furrow” in the soil, at the spot where the box is put.

sla kapje 2

  • Pour (much) water on the soil around the plant.
  • Put a transparent box over the plant, its edge in the furrow.
  • Shove garden earth against the sides of the box.

Lettuce plants under one transparent box or flower pot can withstand light frost. To – 5 C (23 F) outdoor temperature, the roots of the lettuce plant under the box don’t freeze.

sla kapje 3

  • Put another box over the first box.
  • Shove garden earth against the sides of the box.

Lettuce plants under two transparent boxes or 2 flower pots can withstand moderate frost. To – 10 C (14 F) outdoor temperature, the roots of the lettuce plant under 2 boxes don’t freeze.

Under the boxes it’s warm and the soil keeps moist for a long time. When watering:

  • remove the top box,
  • pour water through the bottom holes of the bottom box,
  • put on the top box,
  • shove garden earth against.

sla kapje 4

  • Remove both boxes when it’s less cold.
  • Shove garden earth against the stem of the plant.

sla kapje 5

  • Put 1 box over the plant.
  • Shove garden earth against the sides of the box.
  • When watering, pour water through the bottom holes.

Lettuce plants under one transparent box or flower pot can withstand light frost. To – 5 C (23 F) outdoor temperature, the roots of the lettuce plant under the box don’t freeze.

When the plant is bigger and/or it’s warmer, remove the transparent box. Let the plant grow bigger.

sla onder potjes en open tunnel

sla onder potjes of open tunnel 2

In April and early May (early spring), you can put an open tunnel greenhouse over the plants. Against cold nights. To have big lettuce heads earlier.

This procedure works well. There are big lettuce heads from the end of April (mid spring).

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A3b) Under a (tunnel) greenhouse

You can put small lettuce plants in the garden soil under a greenhouse. When desired with extra transparent boxes over the plants.

Lettuce plants under a (tunnel) greenhouse can withstand light frost. To – 5 C (23 F) outdoor temperature, the roots of the lettuce plants under the greenhouse do not freeze.

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When you put transparent boxes (or flower pots) over the plants in the greenhouse, they can withstand moderate frost. To – 10 C (14 F) outdoor temperature, the roots of the lettuce plants under the greenhouse do not freeze.

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When you put 2 transparent boxes (or 2 flower pots) over each other over the plants in the greenhouse, they can withstand severe frost. To – 15 C (5 F) outdoor temperature, the roots of the lettuce plants under the greenhouse do not freeze.

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A4) And further

  • Water the plants when needed.
  • When the soil around the roots does not freeze, the lettuce plant stays alive.
  • Lettuce leaves may freeze. At “warm” weather, the leaves continue to grow.
  • Remove or put on the transparent boxes or flower pots depending on the outdoor temperature.
  • In a greenhouse, you can remove the transparent boxes or pots from the lettuce plants end of March (early spring). Let the plants grow bigger in the greenhouse.
  • You can open the greenhouse by day at a warm sunny day (and close it by night).
  • Lettuce plants in the open air can withstand a few degrees of frost.
  • When there are 2 or more lettuce plants in a group, thin out when needed. Water the plants and the soil after thinning.

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B)# Sow in the garden soil from March to August (early spring to mid summer).

From March (early to mid spring) on, you can sow lettuce directly in the garden soil.

B1) Sowing

  • Choose 2 sowing spots in your garden each week. At each sowing spot:
    • Loosen the garden soil.
    • Mix the soil with manure or compost and agricultural lime.
    • Water the soil.
    • Lay 5 to 10 lettuce seeds on the soil.
    • Scatter moist garden earth over the seeds, layer thickness 0.5 centimeters (1/5 inch).
    • Put a (black) flower pot over the sowing spot.
    • Shove garden earth against the (black) flower pot against blowing away.
    • At dry weather pour water through the bottom holes of the flower pot.

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Remark:

doorzichtig over zwart

At cold weather, put a transparent flower pot (or box) over the flower pot right after sowing. Shove garden earth against the transparent pot or box against blowing away. Under the “double pots” it’s warmer, so the seeds germinate faster.

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B2) Plants are visible

  • (Remove the transparent pot or box from the flower pot).
  • Remove the  flower pot when plants are visible (normally after 5 to 15 days).

  • At cold weather, put a transparent flower pot over the tiny plants.
  • Shove garden earth against the pot against blowing away.

  • Or put a transparent box with bottom holes over the plants.
  • At warm weather, remove the transparent boxes or pots. At (cold) nights, have the boxes or pots over the plants again.
  • Water the plants via the bottom holes.
  • During a long warm period and/or the plants are big, don’t put a transparent box or flower pot over.
  • When the plants are about 3 centimeters (1.2 inch) high, pull out the smallest plants per group until 2 plants remain. Then water the plants.
  • When the plants are about 5 cm (2 inch) high, pull out the smallest plant per group. So 1 plant remains. Then water the plant.

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B3) Sowing with a small tea spoon

Picking lettuce seeds between thumb and index and sowing is not so easy to do. There is a risk of sowing very many seeds in a group. Very hard to thin out.

lepeltje

You can use a mini tea spoon to scoop the lettuce seeds from the seed sachet and scatter them on a sowing spot. There are less seeds in a group, so easier to thin out.

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B4) Normal flower pot or pot with insect mesh netting

You can put a flower pot or a pot with insect mesh netting over the covered lettuce seeds.

Tiny lettuce plants are easier to see under the flower pot with netting than under a normal flower pot.

The lettuce plants under a pot with mesh netting are short and firm. The plants under a normal flower pot are spiky with long stems (because it is darker there).

In tip 2) is a description of the flower pot with insect mesh netting (no 72).

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C) Growing lettuce at hot, dry weather

At very warm weather, lettuce seeds germinate bad in the garden soil under a flower pot. From many seeds, only 1 or a few plants emerge (and are often eaten by critters). Waste of work.

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C1) Two flower pots over each other

Make many sowing spots in your garden soil to grow many lettuce plants. At warm weather, lettuce plants are likely to bolt (forming a flower stem) and don’t form a big head. More plants mean more good big lettuce heads.

After sowing in the garden soil, you can scatter a thick layer of soil. Then put 2 flower pots over each other over the seed; 1 small one and 1 big one. The seeds in the soil don’t get too warm. And many lettuce plants will emerge. Info below:

sla warm droog 42

  • Make many sowing spots in the garden soil.
  • At each spot, sow many seeds (at least 30) on moist garden soil.

sla warm droog 43

  • At each spot, scatter a (somewhat thicker) layer of moist garden earth on the seeds.

sla warm droog 44

  • At each spot, put a small flower pot or a pot with insect mesh netting over the seeds.
  • Shove garden earth against the side of each pot (against warm air entering).

sla warm droog 45

  • Put a big red (or white) flower pot over a small flower pot at each sowing spot.
  • (don’t put a big black pot over; a black one gets very warm in the sun).
  • Shove garden earth against the side of each pot (against warm air entering).
  • Each day, check the earth above the seeds and the germinating;
    • Remove the big flower pot.
    • Remove the small pot.
    • Check the soil on the seeds; too dry, spray water on the soil.
    • Check if small lettuce plants are visible;
      • No lettuce plants visible or only a few tiny plants emerged, put the small and big flower pot over the seeds again.

sla warm droog 46

      • Are there many lettuce plants visible, don’t put the flower pots over.
  • Water the plants daily, using a watering can with fine shower head.
  • Let the plants grow bigger.
  • Thin out (to 3 or 4 plants per group) when the plants are about 5 centimeters (2 inch) high.
  • Thin out to 1 or 2 plants when bigger than 7.5 centimeters (3 inch).

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This procedure works well and looks like the “normal” way of sowing in the garden soil.

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C2) Sowing on moist toilet paper, planting in flower pots

You can sow on moist toilet paper, put mini plants in flower pots with compost and replanting in the garden soil later. See below.

  • Info about this procedure in    tip 2)   no  73 .
  • Put lettuce seeds in a (white) cap or tray, very useful.
  • Lay folded toilet paper in a box. You can fold a gray plate in the paper.
  • Spray or pour water on the paper. Pour out surplus water.
  • Pick up lettuce seeds (with moist point of a cocktail stick) and lay on toilet paper.
  • Put a lid on the box (against drying out).
  • Let the seeds germinate on moist paper between 20 and 30 C (68 and 86 F). Many seeds will turn into plants, even at higher temperatures.
  • When first lettuce plants are visible, don’t put the lid on the box. Put a transparent box on.
  • When needed, spray water on the toilet paper.

  • Spray water on the moist toilet paper; this eases picking up the plants.
  • Pick one small lettuce plant (between index and thumb) from the moist toilet paper.
  • Cut off a little piece of the root. This makes planting easier.
  • Put 2 lettuce plants in a flower pot (with insert and strip) filled with a mixture of compost, manure and agricultural lime.
  • Put all (big) lettuce plants in flower pots.
  • Put many pots in a tray; easy for transport.

  • Regularly water the plants and the soil in the pots.
  • Let the plants grow bigger “at home”. Have the plants outdoors by day and indoors at night (against eating by snails or slugs).

  • When plants are bigger, you can put them on the garden soil under a tunnel greenhouse with open sides (otherwise it’s too warm for the plants).

  • (when 2 lettuce plants in a pot, you can pull out the smallest one).
  • Put the bigger grown plant in the garden soil.
  • Water the plant and the garden soil.
  • Let the plants grow into big lettuce heads.

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At warm weather, lettuce plants can dry up or die.

Put a layer of hay around each lettuce plant. The soil does not dry out fast and watering the plant goes much better (water flows along the hay into the soil).

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C3) Warm germinating on moist paper or in compost

At warm weather, lettuce seeds germinate well on moist toilet paper. In compost, germination is poor. See below.

Germination results at warm weather (20 to 30 C, 68 to 86 F). In compost, 2 lettuce plants have emerged from 30 (6 x 5) seeds. On moist toilet paper, 10 plants from 16 seeds.

So germinating on moist toilet paper goes well, even at higher temperatures.

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Remark (bolting lettuce):

At warm weather, lettuce can start flowering, bolting. The main stem of the lettuce plant grows tall with much space between the leaves.

schietsla

This photo shows a part of my allotment garden on October 1 (early autumn).

From left to right on this photo:

  • winter leeks,
  • 1 long row of bolted lettuce plants,
  • stepping stones,
  • 1 short row of small lettuce heads,
  • endive plants in a row,
  • 2 rows of strawberry plants.

Much info on the internet for example in  this site     and  here   .

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C4) Thinned lettuce plants in flower pots

When thinning out, you can put the pulled out plants in (on) the compost container. When you replant the pulled out lettuce plants in the garden soil, they are standing limp for many days (especially on a sunny spot).

You better put the pulled out plants in flower pots with compost. Have the pots on a shady spot until the plants are rigid. Replant them in the garden soil.

sla uitdunplantjes 1

sla uitdunplantjes 2

Thinned (pulled out) small lettuce plants.

sla uitdunplantjes 6

sla uitdunplantjes 14

  • Cut “broad” plastic strips (from the lid of a margarine box).

sla uitdunplantjes 15

sla uitdunplantjes 16

  • Put a broad plastic strip in a flower pot with insert.
  • The flower pot on the photo has a top diameter of 7 centimeters (2  3/4 inch).

sla uitdunplantjes 11

sla uitdunplantjes 12

  • Put a mixture of compost and garden earth in the flower pot.
  • Replant a thinned out lettuce plant in the pot.

sla uitdunplantjes 13

  • Put the flower pots with lettuce plants in the garden soil;
    • on a cool, shady spot,
    • under fine iron mesh (against slugs, snails or birds).
  • Regularly water the plants. Let them grow bigger.

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Planting out:

sla uitdunplantjes 17

  • Spray water on the soil in the pot.
  • Use a tea spoon to push on the soil. This minimizes the root ball from falling apart.

sla uitdunplantjes 18

  • Get the insert out of the flower pot.

sla uitdunplantjes 20

  • At the desired spot in the garden, mix garden earth with manure and agricultural lime.
  • Make a round hole in the soil.
  • Carefully lift the strip; the root ball is released.
  • Carefully lift the root ball from the insert (hold the strip when needed).
  • Drop or slide the root ball (with plant) into the hole in the soil.
  • Shove garden earth around the root ball.
  • Water the soil round the plant.

(the strip on the photos above is a different model, one with 6 sides).

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This procedure uses a strip with a big “foot”. Reason: in the root ball there are only few roots grown, so the root ball easily falls apart. A big foot reduces falling apart.

In   Tip 30  info about inserts and strips.

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C5 )Last lettuce heads

You can harvest big lettuce heads until in November (mid to late autumn). Do as follows:

  • Sow many lettuce seeds on moist toilet paper around August 10 (mid to late summer).
  • Put mini lettuce plants in flower pots filled with compost, a little manure and a little agricultural lime.
  • Put many flower pots with plants in a big tray.

kropsla C

Kropsla b

  • You can put them on the garden soil under a tunnel greenhouse with open sides (otherwise it’s too warm for the plants).

  • In mid September,  plants are big enough to replant in the garden soil.
  • Get the lettuce plants with root ball out of the pots and plant them in the garden soil.

kropsla A

  • You can put lettuce plants on an “old” potato field.
  • (or somewhere else in your garden).

  • Put a layer of hay around each lettuce plant. The soil does not dry out fast and it protects against cold during cold nights.

  • Early October (early autumn), many lettuce plants in the soil.
  • From November on (early to mid autumn), you can put a tunnel greenhouse over the plants.

  • Lettuce plants on December 1 (late autumn).

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D)# Label or little stick

When lettuce plants are very small, put a mark stick or label in the garden soil. This prevents the little lettuce plants from getting hoed or stepping on.

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E)# No animals allowed

gaas kapje 7

You can put these type of protection over lettuce plants. Info in   tip 2)    no 80.

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F) Remarks:

  1. Sieved potting soil or sieved compost is good for sowing lettuce in flower pots. Mix the soil with some sieved manure and agricultural lime.
  2. Lettuce germinates well between 15 and 20 C (59 to 68 F). The black flower pot (or pot with insect mesh netting) keeps the soil at a good temperature.
  3. And the seeds don’t dry out or don’t get flushed away at heavy shower.
  4. The flower pots indicate the sowing spots.
  5. The transparent pots or boxes acts as a mini greenhouses over plants.
  6. Lettuce can withstand a few degrees of frost.
  7. Pour water through the holes in the bottom of the flower pot or box.
  8. In August (mid summer) sow many seeds on moist toilet paper, to have lettuce heads until November, December (late fall).
  9. Put big flower pots over lettuce heads (when hail is forecasted).

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G)# Lettuce plants in Sjef’s garden

 Begin of April (early spring): big and small lettuce plants under pots.

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 Mid April (spring): same big and small plants and seeds under black flower pots.

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May (spring): same big and small plants and seeds under black flower pots.

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Big flower pots over lettuce heads (when hail is forecasted).

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