An annual leaf vegetable that we're able to consume 10 months out of the year? It exists! We couldn't be talking about salad here, could we? Er, actually...yeah, we are talking about salad. Lettuce, to be precise.
Common name : Lettuces
Scientific name : Lactuca sativa
Family : Asteraceae
Category : Veggies
Type of plant : Annual
Lettuce is, after all, a type of salad. By strategically staggering the planting of the different varieties of lettuce, you can harvest it nearly the entire year.
We can categorize the different varieties according to the seasons:
Spring lettuce should be planted in February and March, under shelter (tunnel or cold frame).
Summer lettuce is planted from the end of March to June in open soil.
Winter lettuce should be planted in August or September, also sheltered.
Romaine lettuce is planted from March to June.
And finally, the leaf lettuces, which are planted from March to the end of August.
Plant them (it's more economic) in fresh soil, rich in humus.
An easy to cultivate annual, lettuce is an indisputable star in most vegetable gardens! There are several types of lettuce: head lettuce, batavia lettuce, romaine lettuce, and cutting lettuce are the most common.
By juggling between the different lettuce varieties and the sowing, we can ensure lettuce harvests up to 10 months a year!
Water my lettuces
Lettuces need water, otherwise they dry or produce seeds!
Water two to three times a week in dry weather, and watch for leaves that show the first signs of dehydration.
Sow my lettuces
Sow in a cool and humus rich soil, avoiding too much sun exposure as this will produce flowers too quickly for your lettuce. Sow in shelters in February and March, and in open soil from March to September.
Space the rows 30 cm apart, and seed very lightly, because you will only keep one plant every 25 cm: you can mix the seeds with salad to facilitate handling.
Work the top soil carefully, without leaving any clumps, by delicately raking. Water lightly with a watering can, or spray them, so as to not wash away the seeds.
Plant my lettuces
Plant every 30 cm making a hole with a dibble, in a cool soil sheltered from the sun. Be careful not to bury the leaves of the seedlings, it will cause them to rot. The roots of lettuce are still very fragile; handle them with care!
Check on my lettuces
Watch out for slugs! Attract them away, with mulch and decomposed leaves and fruits - so they will leave your greens alone.
Thin out my lettuces
After sprouting, thin out the plants by leaving only one every 20-30 centimeters to facilitate their growth.
Of course, you can transplant these sprouts right away in new rows!
Dibble my lettuces
Plant every 30 cm by making a hole with a dibber in cool soil without too much sun. Be careful not to bury the collar of the young plants, which will cause them to rot. The lettuce's roots are still very fragile; handle them with care!
Harvesting my lettuces
Harvest according to your needs, cutting them at ground level. Remember that lettuces become tough if you let them go to seeds.
NB: as their name suggests, the lettuce to be cut can be cut several times, as they go to seed more slowly.
Mulch my lettuces
Only for winter varieties. Mulch the lettuce plants with untreated mulch (be careful if you collect mulch from a farmer that used a growth regulator — no one wants dwarf lettuce).
Fertilize my lettuces
Fertilize your entire garden in the month of November with decomposed manure or compost that is not necessarily very decomposed. Cover it with a mulch of leaves and wood (so as to not only provide nitrogen elements that destabilize the soil).