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News from the Good Food Project

Easy Reliable and Requires Little Space

March 27, 2017

 

Growing lettuce is easy, reliable, requires little space, and enjoys a long growing season, allowing for multiple and continuous harvest.  Lettuce is also one of the best vegetables to grow because it offers a nice mix of nutrients in a compact package, including iron, folate, and vitamins A and C.  It's for all these reasons, that MOTHER EARTH NEWS states that new gardeners should choose lettuce as their first step in the journey to delicious, home grown self-reliance.   Gardeners can chose from hundreds of varieties, all falling into six types. For beginners it is recommended to start with loose-leaf varieties, also know as cut and come again lettuces, meaning you can cut a harvest, then harvest again in a few weeks.  These varieties are not only the easiest to grow, but they come in many seed mixes, offering a balance of colors, textures, and flavors.

To add some extra color and zing to your salad bowl, it is suggested to plant a row of spicy mesclun mix for every row of lettuce grown,  Most seed companies offer mixes of arugulas, kales, and mustard greens, which with the addition of some cheese, chopped walnuts, and a couple of edible flowers, can turn a ho-hum salad into a memorable main course.

As with any crop, delicious salad greens start with the soil.  Lettuce does best in sandy loam soil with a high level of moisture retaining organic matter, but don't be discouraged if you don't have those conditions.  Lettuce grows all around the world in all types of climates and soils, including the soil in your backyard.

There's not ideal climate for all lettuce types, but most grow best in cool weather.  salad greens can be planted as soon as you can work the soil.  Most lettuce varieties germinate well in the range of 40 to 60 degrees making them an excellent spring and fall crop. 

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