Growing Lettuce

Latest Update 19th January 2019.

Lettuce
  • Red Iceberg Lettuce are fast growing and compact.  They have a crisp texture and taste great.  
  • I have found them easy to grow all year round in our climate, although they need protection from the sun to stop them bolting in summer.
  • They benefit from the protection of pest exclusion netting in the warmer months especially to keep butterfles away.
  • I use a mulch of clean straw to protect lettuce leaves from bottom rot, which is usually caused by direct contact with moist soil.
  • Like most organically grown vegetables, lettuce is rich in vitamins, minerals and is a great source of dietary fibre.
  • We always eat it fresh from the garden on salads, in sandwiches and in wraps.
Details.
  • Binomial Name:                                        Lactuca sativa.
  • Family:                                                    Asteraceae.
  • Variety:                                                    Red Iceberg.
  • Crop rotation group:                                  Legumes.
  • Garden bed type:                                      Garden Ecobed.
  • Minimum sun per day:                              4 hours.
  • Plant spacings:                                       250 mm.
  • Weeks to harvest:                                     8 - 12 weeks.
  • Good companions:                                   Carrot. onion. beetroot. cabbage. marigold.
  • Climate:                                                   Warm temperate. 
  • Geography:                                              Southern hemisphere.
Nutrition. 
  • This food is low in sodium, and very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. 
  • It is a good source of thiamin, vitamin B6, iron, potassium, dietary fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and manganese.
  • More from nutrition data.self.com.
Maintaining Ecobed Productivity. 
  • Check out my blogpage which explains how I maintain productivity in my Ecobeds.  It describes how soil is prepared prior to planting, the importance of rainwater in Ecobeds, how to regulate the sun's intensity and how to feed plants through their leaves.
Propagation Plan.
  • Check out my blogpage which tells you when to sow seeds. 
Growing Instructions.
  • Sow 6 lettuce seeds in a plastic minipot each month in organic seed raising mixture, and soak them in a tray containing 15mm of dilute seaweed extract.
  • After about 15 minutes transfer the well soaked minipot into an EcoPropagator, and using a large dibber to make a planting hole in the sieved compost wicking medium, plant the mini pot up to its rim in the compost.
  • When the seedlings are big enough, transplant them individually into 6 small fibre pots filled with sieved compost.  Soak them in dilute seaweed solution and return them to the propagator buried up to their rims in compost. 
  • When ready, plant them out into a prepared row in an Ecobed 250mm apart.
  • The soil should have been cleared of the above ground remains of the previous crop including spent mulch.  Recycle this waste through your composting system.  
  • A layer of about 60mm of fresh, sieved, homemade compost is then placed on top of the soil and covered with a generous layer of straw mulch.
  • In the prepared bed, make a 50mm wide hole for each pot using a large dibber.  Make it deep enough so the lower 15mm of each pot is in contact with the soil, and the rest buried up to the pots rim in compost.  Keep the straw mulch well away from the seedlings until they mature.  Water the seedlings in with dilute seaweed extract.
Harvesting and Storage.
  • Lettuce can be harvested all year round. 
  • When harvesting, pick outer leaves on a regular basis as required to extend the life of each plant and maximise harvest.  When the plant eventually stops growing or tries to set seed, cut the Lettuce down to ground level and allow the roots to decompose in the soil.
  • Lettuce does not store well and should be eaten fresh from the garden.
Organic Pest Control.