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Growing salad lettuce makes sense as these are the mainstay of our summer eating. Lettuce is a great source of vitamin K, it also claims to help lower cholesterol, moderate sleep and is packed full of antioxidants.
Become adventurous in your choices as there are many types you can grow. Try growing a salad bowl near the kitchen with half a dozen different varieties including the cut-and-come-again types.
Lettuce likes well-worked, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Choose a sunny spot, if growing in pots or tubs, choose Baileys Veg & Herb Planting Mix. If you are planting in the garden then amend the soil with generous quantities of Baileys Clay & Compost (for sandy soils) or Soil Improver Plus.
Sow seeds no more than 3mm deep, sow a few seeds in the planting hole and cover with your enriched soil.
Lettuce likes moist soil otherwise it can become bitter so water regularly. Sow seeds every couple of weeks to extend harvest and provide a continuous crop. Snip or pick out damaged leaves to encourage new growth.
Time to harvest will depend on variety but generally they should be ready within in 9-12 weeks.
Varieties of Lettuce
The Crisphead variety includes Iceburg, these stay crunchy and crisp and have a subtle flavour. They will be ready to harvest roots and all 10-12 weeks after sowing seed.
Butterheads are a smaller version and will be ready to harvest in 9-10 weeks, these include buttercrunch, oak leaf and mignonette.
Loose leaf lettuce can be harvested as they grow from 6 weeks onwards. They are the perfect choice for a no fuss salad.
Cos or Romaine varieties take 10-11 weeks to grow, outer leaves can be harvested earlier. This long leaved lettuce is crunchy, mild and the star of the all time favourite Caesar Salad.