Lettuce love being grown in raised beds because
the open soil structure is ideal for them. They also are not
particularly picky about feeding as long as minimal feeds are given.
Essential though for growing good lettuces is lots of water and a
position that protects them from strong sun from early may onwards.
Lettuce grow best in cool well-watered situations.
VARIETIES OF LETTUCE FOR RAISED BEDS AND CONTAINERS Taste and space are the keywords when selecting lettuce
varieties for growing in a raised bed. You want the maximum
crop with good taste (and sometimes colour) in the smallest
amount of space.
The seed catalogues list a huge variety of lettuce seeds
and the choice can be almost overwhelming. Which variety of
lettuce you grow in your raised bed or container is a matter
of personal choice but we strongly suggest that you grow a
compact small variety.
Our recommendations are Little Gem and Lobjoits Green
(both cos type lettuce) and Tom Thumb. All have good taste
and are compact growing lettuce.
WHEN TO SOW LETTUCE
Star to sow lettuce in raised beds or containers from the
second half of march onwards. Don't make the mistake of
sowing all your lettuce seed in one go, you will end up with
a bumper crop, too much eat over a ten day period and then
nothing. Instead, sow a few seeds each week so that they
don't all mature at the same time. You can continue to sow
lettuce up until mid August but see our advice in the next
As you harvest your lettuce, firm down soil they were in
and sow a few more lettuce seeds in their place. Doing this
you can get two or three crops of lettuce from the same area
within a season. A very economical use of valuable space.
HOW TO SOW LETTUCE
For a demonstration of how to sow lettuce click the video
below. Apologies for the background noise but the commentary
is still audible.
Use a seed marker to draw out a straight line groove very
shallowly in the soil surface. Lightly sprinkle some seeds
into the groove. Lettuce germinate quite well so don't sow
waste the seed by sowing too heavily. If you do the task of
thinning out the lettuce at a later stage will be more
The seed is very small so it's impossible to be precise
but sowing one seed every one centimetre (third of an inch)
will be fine. If you are sowing more than one row of lettuce
in a raised bed then each row should be about 20cm / 8in
apart. Use seed markers to identify the variety and
position of the seeds.
Take some fine soil / compost from the surrounding area
and sprinkle it over the seeds. The principle is to just
cover the seeds so that they won't blow away or be eaten by
birds. Gently firm the soil down over the top of the seeds
and then water with a watering can.
Lettuce are cool weather plants and if you are sowing
seed in warm weather then do it at the end of the day so
that the seeds stand their best chance of germination in the
cooler temperatures overnight.
Video Showing How to Sow Lettuce Seeds
CARE OF LETTUCE
As the lettuce seedlings emerge from the soil
(this should take around 8 days) thin them out to
about 8cm to 12cm apart depending on the variety and
how large you want to let them grow. The three
lettuce varieties suggested in the previous
paragraph are compact plants so thin to 8cm, larger
varieties should be thinned to 12cm.
In fact, the
final distance between each lettuce should be twice
that above but read the next paragraph.
When the lettuce grow and start to touch each other, then
thin out every other lettuce. These thinned, semi-grown
lettuce are delicious, tender and sweet, so eat them rather
than throw them away. One or two of these thinned lettuce is
more than enough for one person.
As with all vegetables, keep the site weed-free, the less
competition your lettuce have, the quicker and healthier
they will grow. Water is very important for lettuce, a lack
of it will cause them to bolt. Bolting occurs when the
centre of the lettuce starts to grow upwards very quickly -
the lettuce are starting to produce seed at this point and
the leaves will quickly begin to taste bitter. The best time
to water lettuce is at the warmest time of the day, this
cools them off and lessens the risk of mould infections.
When grown in open land lettuce should only be fed if the
soil is poor. But in a raised bed our normal feeding program
for raised beds and containers will be fine.
Click here for our feeding program.
HOW TO HARVEST LETTUCE
Simply grip the plant with your hand as near to the soil
as possible, and pull the lettuce up with the roots. We
suggest harvesting lettuce when it is young, these are the
tastiest and sweetest. When you have harvested half a row,
sow more seeds in the free part of the row as suggested
Lettuce doesn't keep for very long but stores best in the
fridge with the roots still attached. The best advice is to
harvest young and only harvest what you need.
Click the Facebook logo above to join us on Facebook.
Latest updates, see how our raised bed and containers are
growing. Ask questions, get answers, post YOUR pictures
and updates. Join the UK's premier Raised Bed and
Container gardening Facebook page.
MAJOR ARTICLES ON GROWING FRUIT & VEGETABLES IN
RAISED BEDS & CONTAINERS.