Most of the vegetables that I planted at the beginning of summer have either finished growing for the season or are close to it. I am just waiting for the larger tomatoes to turn red, and then I will harvest the last of my basil and will eat nothing but Caprese salads for the rest of the summer. I've been trying to come up with some vegetables that I can plant this fall, but with the baby coming, I'm not sure that I will have much time to tend to the garden. Regardless, I'd like to plant something low maintenance.
Every now and then I like to pop into my favorite garden store to see what they have left in stock. Last weekend I went to look for some end of the season discounted patio furniture when I stumbled upon a few racks of small lettuce plants. I've been enjoying a lot of salads lately, and I'll even rip off a few leaves to eat with my meals. I thought it would be fun to grow a small patio container lettuce garden because the thought of stepping onto the deck to pick a few leaves for lunch sounds really fantastic. I thought about growing the lettuce in the backyard garden, but growing it in containers seems so much easier. You can control the weeds and pests more easily than in a large gardening space, and it offers quick access when you want some leaves for a salad.
Things you will need for a small lettuce garden:
1) 4 - 5 small lettuce plants (I planted red leaf, green leaf, arugula, and Lacinato kale)
2) 1 cubic liter bag of soil with an inch of compost mixed in (optional)
3) 1 plastic tub for planting with small holes punched into the bottom to drain the water
4) garden trowel
Firstly, wash the plastic tub with soapy water. Fill the tub 3/4 full with soil. Space the lettuce plants according to the directions on the tag. Dig a hole slightly bigger than the lettuce plant. Place it in the soil and cover. Press down the soil around the plant so there are no spaces or gaps. Continue planting the rest of the lettuce in the same manner, and then water thoroughly. Water the lettuce every day or every other day. You want the soil to stay moist. In addition, you can mist with a water bottle.
Tips for growing great lettuce:
1) Plant your lettuce at the beginning of spring or fall. Lettuce is a cool season crop and the leaves develop best in cool but not chill temperatures
2) Keep the soil constantly moist. Water every day or every other day
3) Monitor for pests such as aphids and slugs, and treat accordingly
4) Grow lettuce in part shade. The hot sun will wilt the leave
5) Use the handy
garden sensor, which is a cool new gadget that tracks light, humidity, temperature, soil nutrition, and moisture, and then cross-references this information with plant, soil science, and weather databases to recommend tips for keeping your plants healthy.
1) Harvest lettuce in the morning. Avoid picking lettuce when it's hot and wilted
2) Use scissors to harvest the outside baby leaves first
3) Cut the lettuce when it is young and tender. Once the lettuce bolts, it becomes bitter
4) Rinse the leaves thoroughly with cool water, shake or spin off excess moisture, and store in plastic bags in the refrigerator
Thanks to folks over at EDYN for sponsoring this post and supplying me with a garden sensor. The EDYN garden sensor has been invaluable to me this summer. It has helped my tomatoes grow big and healthy and basically eliminated all the issues I was having with watering. The EDYN sensor is essentially a garden tracking tool. You place the sensor in your garden and it tells you key information about your plants including; nutrition, moisture, temperature, and humidity. Check out the EDYN website for more information.