Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

Lettuce – lactuca sativa

Family: Asteraceae

Origin: Lettuce originates from Mediterranean and Near East (Persia).

Growing conditions:

  • Lettuce is one of oldest, most prevalent salad vegetables. There are varieties available for all seasons to allow all year planting in temperate climate conditions. Select the most suitable variety for the time of year and the climate that you live in. A general rule of thumb is to avoid planting hearting varieties throughout the hottest time of year to avoid humidity and moisture problems.
  • Lettuce enjoys a rich, well-drained soil with consistent moisture. Soil pH should be close to neutral as it dislikes acidity.
  • Prepare the soil with organic matter, gypsum, a slow release fertiliser and a little added potash.
  • Feed regularly with liquid seaweed and worm juice.
  • Mulch well with sugar cane.
  • Growing under shade cloth is beneficial in hot areas.
  • Always regularly water in the morning to prevent a bitter tasting lettuce and combat fungal diseases.

How to grow:

  • The best soil temperature for germination is between 15 – 20ºC. Lettuce seed refuses to germinate over 30ºC. In the warmer months, chilling the lettuce seed in the refrigerator for a few days before sowing will improve the germination rate.
  • Direct sow or sow into seedling trays for later transplanting. Cover the seed lightly to a depth of 5 mm deep. This will still allow light and moisture to penetrate the soil. Firm down the soil and keep moist. Space plants approximately 20 – 30 cm apart for good airflow.

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