Lettuce and more lettuce...

So summer’s here and you can enjoy a health salad right out of your garden!! Yes , you can grow your own lettuce in an easy way in your private garden all summer. Its that time again. Sun drenched days in which the long grass gently sways in the breeze. Swallows dip and dive through the blue sky. 

Bees with their contented hum sip nectar from an abundance of summer flowers  and I lie back and think of ……lettuce!

Lettuce is no longer about sliced Icebergs or soggy Butterheads. Anyone who knows anything about gardening  is growing interesting, colourful, peppery and flavoursome salad crops. They are in every supermarket, but the price for the slightly more unusual can be biheavy on our pockets. But take heart, they aren't difficult to grow! Whether planted in a large potager or a balcony pot - these plants can be grown all through the summer. The ‘salad days’ are here.

My ideal salad bowl would have to include a loose-leaf lettuce such as Lollo Rossa, rocket (or is it roquette these days!), Lamb’s lettuce and New Zealand spinach.

How To Grow

Your lettuce will grow best in full sun to light shade in a light and fertile soil that retains some moisture. Sow your seed little and often. The germination rate of lettuces can be a little ‘hit and miss’, depending on the weather. If the weather is too hot, germination is generally poor. I prefer to sow straight into the soil in late April/early May in the south; 2 – 3 weeks later in the north. Seeds should be sown in rows ½” deep and 6” apart. Once they have germinated, thin out the seedlings to between 6” – 8” apart. This will take place approximately 4 weeks after sowing. Give ample water to make sure the seedlings grow.This is best done in the morning as itsthe tiem when pland do maximum photosynthesis which limits the chances of downy mildew.

To Harvest

To harvest your loose-leaf lettuce varieties either remove a few leaves at a time or cut the plant completely back to 4” high and wait for it to respond. Hence the term ‘cut-and-come-again’.So now you can enjoy a bowl of healthy meal everyday and mind it its not costing your pocket…..