Growing lettuce indoors is not all that difficult as you might think. Growing lettuce from seed is possible, but growing leaves of lettuce or salad mix in pots is how to go about it.
In only about thirty-days, you can be creating a fresh salad with your own salad mix! You can find starter kits in any gardening store, and even at many grocery stores for those who have little experience growing their own vegetables. It is much easier than many people imagine to grow their own salad mix or salad leaves, but it does take some effort.
The first thing to do is prepare your garden area and to plan out your planting times, which will vary based on the plants you have chosen. If you are growing lettuce, choose plants that will produce small amounts of leaves in a short period of time. Lettuce has a short, narrow leaf, and therefore will require shorter growing periods, such as three to four days for every inch of leaf length.
The soil you use is very important as well. If you live in a dry region, you may need to add some water or fertilizer to the soil, depending on the type of plants you are growing. For example, if you are growing lettuce from seed and plan to transplant it to a sunny location after it matures, you will want to add some compost to the soil or apply some fertilizer. If you are growing lettuce leaves in pots, you will probably want to choose containers that are already prepared for your plants, either with a layer of soil or a layer of potting soil and then adding topsoil.
There are a number of different methods for preparing the soil. Some gardeners dig a hole in the ground, pour in the compost, cover it in loose sand, cover the whole pot with mulch, and water in. Others mix the compost and sand together in a bucket. Still others use a combination of both techniques. The important thing is that you know exactly what method you are going to use before you get started.
Once you have prepared your soil, start planting your plants. You will want to plant seeds that will grow in large numbers, such as romaine lettuce. and spinach, and try to plant them in rows of three, so that they get the most sunlight and water.
After every planting cycle, remove the plants and trim off the extra leaves, and cut back some of the plants until you reach a level that the roots will grow up to. the top of the pot. Then replant the rest of the plants in their original position, and cover with potting soil. If you are growing lettuce from seed, water the plants periodically, keeping the soil moist, but not soaking wet.
Care should be taken to keep the plants watered throughout the winter months, especially if you live in a dry region. Watering the plants during the summer can also help prevent diseases, as can using a high-pressure sprinkler system.
It is a good idea to check the soil regularly, since diseases may be more common in an area where the soil is sandy rather than clay. Use a garden hose to spray the soil around the base of the plants to make sure there is no dust building up. Also remove any leaves that are falling from the leaves and replace them with a new set, to make sure that the leaves are not falling onto the soil.
Watering your plants every month is a great idea, but may take longer when the leaves are still wet from the previous watering. If the leaves are dry, it is best to wait until the next day to water them. Keep in mind that watering the plants during the winter season when you are away from home could cause your plants to become dormant, which will result in the development of diseases.
To reduce the risk of diseases, you should also check that the roots are well-established in the soil. This can be achieved by using a garden fork to dig around the root ball for about half an inch into the soil.
You can fertilize your plants in the fall, just before the first frost, when the leaves begin to drop from the plants. Fertilizing the plants at this time will ensure that the roots are strong enough to hold on to the nutrients. A fertilizer containing nitrogen and phosphate is usually very effective and will allow your lettuce to develop properly. If you are trying to grow lettuce from seed, apply compost and water to the soil once or twice a year, but do not over-fertilize.