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Sowing
  • Choose a sunny position with as little shade as possible.
  • Dig over soil and add in plenty of well rotted compost or manure into the soil if none has been added. November is ideal month for this.
  • Rake in a general fertilizer before planting.
  • Lettuce needs Ammonia to thrive best so add sulphate of ammonia to soil bed when planting.
  • You can grow seeds from February onwards indoors or in a glasshouse.
Preparing your Seedlings
  • In early spring rake over and level an area to use as a seed bed
  • Cover the bed with sifted mature compost or poultry pellets.
  • Firm the bed and give it a light rake.
  • Make shallow drills with a trowel or the edge of a hoe roughly half an inch deep and 6 inches apart.
  • Lay the seeds thinly into the drills and cover them over with soil, carefully cover the drills back over with soil and firm the bed.
  • Keep the seed bed moist, always using a very light spray. Be sure not to overwater.
  • When the lettuce plants are about an inch tall, thin the seedlings to about 3 inches apart in their rows. This will stop overcrowding which could lead to your seedlings becoming weak.
  • Young plants can be sown outdoors from March-June.
  • Water your seedlings the day before you plan to move them.
Planting out your Seedlings
  • Prepare your soil during the winter by digging in plenty of well rotted manure or if you don't have access to manure use poultry pellets.
  • Level off the bed and ensure it is weed free.
  • You should plant out your lettuce during early morning or evening, as it will be cooler and less stressful on the plant.
  • Keep as much soil around the roots as you can.
  • Use two stakes with string stretched between them to form a straight line.
  • Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of each plant, this will allow it proper room to develop.
  • Plant at approximately 10 inch intervals
  • Remove and plant one lettuce plant at a time, never leave your plants sitting out in the sun waiting as it will dry out the roots.
  • Carefully replace the soil around the plant and firm into place.
Growing
  • It is important to keep your bed weed free, so your lettuces are not fighting competition for nutrients.
  • Keep your lettuce well watered, especially in times of hot, dry spells.
  • You must regularly inspect for pests and treat immediately if you are attacked.
  • You must also inspect your plants for signs of mildew and mould, which can form in cool, damp weather. Immediately remove any leaves which show signs of this.
Harvesting
  • Plants should be fit to harvest from April-September depending on planting date and weather conditions
  • Lettuce is ready to harvest when it has a good firm heart.
  • Lettuce must be picked immediately as if it is left in the ground for too long it will start to bolt.
  • Remove your entire lettuce from the ground and cut away the root and lower leaves, dispose of them don not leave them on your bed as they will attract pests and diseases.
Growing Tips
  • Stagger planting times to allow for a long harvest season and a constant supply of fresh vegetables.