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Lettuce at home

Photo credit: Express

You can sew seeds into catering-sized tin cans to grow some healthy lettuce

By DEBORAH STONE

Growing lettuce and fancy salad leaves from seed in a container is the ideal solution for those who want to get an early start to the season or are limited to balconies or courtyard gardens.

Seeds can be sown indoors from February in modules or straight into the container you will put outside, as long as you have the room.

Choose a container that is not too deep – because lettuces only have shallow roots – and make sure they have drainage holes so the plants don’t become waterlogged after a downpour.

If needs be you can drill holes into recycled containers such as large catering-sized tin cans, or if you don’t want to damage something like an old tin bath then grow the lettuce in a proper container that will sit on bricks of pieces of wood within the bath.

Fill your container with multi-purpose compost and water it before sowing the seeds, which are quite small and may get dislodged if you water them immediately after sowing.

Sow the seeds as thinly as you can – an inch or a couple of centimetres apart is ideal – then cover with just a thin layer of compost so the light can get through to them.

It is best just to sow half a dozen seeds at a time, then sow more in another fortnight, so you don’t have a glut of lettuce – or choose a multi-variety mix so there are different types of leaves to harvest.

It is best just to sow half a dozen seeds at a time

Keep them inside if the weather is very cold or put them in a sunny sheltered spot and invest in a horticultural fleece to throw over them at night if a frost is forecast.

Water the compost every few days so it does not dry out and the seedlings should emerge within a few weeks.

Read the full article: Express

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.