How to plant lettuce


Planting lettuce. Some form of it should be grown in every home garden. Lettuce is a cool weather crop, extremely sensitive to heat, and in a large part of the nation head lettuce cannot be grown well from seeds sown in place. In many areas head lettuce must be started from early transplantings to develop a good head before hot weather comes. It is better to work with loose leaf varieties unless head lettuce generally is grown in your area. Leaf lettuce usually does well from seeding in place. Lettuce is adaptable to any rich soil, but lime should be added if acidity is high.

Use rotted manure and a commercial fertilizer with a high phosphorous proportion. Be sure to use the correct varieties of lettuce and plant at the time proper for the seasonal conditions of your garden. Head lettuce plants should be set r foot apart in rows 16 inches apart.

Leaf lettuce seeds should be sown 6 inches apart in rows 16 inches apart, the seeds covered to a depth of 1/2 inch. A packet of seed serves 100 feet of row. Start spring lettuce indoors or in a hotbed and transplant to the garden when the plants have four or five leaves. If the plants are properly hardened, a temperature 2 or 3 degrees below freezing is not usually injurious.

Allow about 6 weeks for the growing of the plants. For fall lettuce the seeds may be sown directly in the garden and the rows thinned to a clearance of 12 to 15 inches each way. In thinning it is advisable to cut the entire plant rather than to remove the leaves. May King, New York, Unrivaled, Big Boston, White Boston, Iceberg, and Hanson are excellent varieties of head lettuce, New York and Big Boston needing more time than the others. Black-Seeded Simpson is one of the best of the leaf lettuce. Cos, or romaine, is an upright loose-heading type; it should be handled as head lettuce.

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