Growing lettuce and leafy greens at home in your garden is a very rewarding experience. Our family started our gardens about 5 years ago, mainly wanting to grow enough lettuce to have a salad a day and now look, gardens are exploding in every area of our property.
Along our journey of becoming more self-reliant and starting to grow most of the food we consume, we've learned a few helpful tips and tricks when growing lettuce and leafy greens.
What's the Best Soil for my Lettuce and Leafy Greens?
Plant your lettuce in soil that is loose and well drained. Often called "Loamy". This can usually be built by combining half sand and half silt and smaller amount of clay. This type of soil is ideal because it's texture is porous and it allows the water to flow through it nicely, but slow enough for the plants to access it. Loamy soil is also nutrient rich because you're constantly working organic matter into the soil each year. We like to add at least 2 inches of organic matter onto each of our beds each year before spring planting season.
Where Should I Plant My Lettuce and Leafy Greens?
In the beginning, our lettuce and greens area of our garden was planted in the far most area of the garden, which we quickly learned worked "okay" but wasn't ideal. During rain storms, or if it was late at night, whatever the reason...we didn't always want to go trenching through the backyard and then have to bend over in the dark and start harvesting the lettuce or greens for our salad. It was just slightly inconvenient at times and we found out that what really made sense for us, was to grow our lettuce on our back patio so that it was just a few steps away from the door, and we always had easy access to our greens. Now it's just a quick trip to our container "salad bars" that we grow, and there's never any fuss when it comes to harvesting our lettuce.
Read how to Plant your own Salad Bar, right on your deck or patio!
What's the Best Time Of Year To Grow Lettuce?
We sow new lettuce seeds every 30 days at our homestead which will guarantee us a continuous harvest of fresh and organic greens for salads, smoothies and stir-fry's year round. Now you must know that lettuce grows much better in mild weather, usually in the spring and fall, but will do exceptionally well planted in the shade during the warmer summer months, out of direct sunlight. Lettuce grows perfect in containers, which is another reason why we love growing our greens on the patio in big planters. This enables us to move them around throughout the year depending on how much sun they need.
When to Harvest Your Lettuce or Leafy Greens
Harvest your lettuce or greens when they are young and tender. The flavor of the leaves will be superb and you'll lessen the risk of your plants bolting or going to seed. We recommend using a pair of scissors and cutting the lower & outermost leaves off of your plants. If you do this, your plant will continue to put off more new leaves, and you'll be able to enjoy your greens for a very long time with many harvests. You can also let a head of lettuce or greens mature and then cut the entire plant off at the soil line.
How to Store your Lettuce and Leafy Greens
Homegrown lettuce will last weeks, I mean WEEKS in the fridge without spoiling if you store it correctly.
Begin by harvesting your lettuce.
Wash it thoroughly.
Cut into small bite sized pieces. (This step is optional)
Dry lettuce using a salad spinner or let dry in a colander.
Place salad into a large tupperware or ziplock bag.
Add a damp, but not soaking paper towel over the lettuce.
Seal container & refrigerate.
For more in-depth instructions on how to have
FRESH LETTUCE LONGER, visit our 7 tips here!
We highly encourage everyone to start growing their own lettuce and leafy greens at home. It's a wonderful crop to consume on a daily basis, and very easy to grow and care for.