The harvests from your kitchen garden are always priceless though it is a vegetable thats available very cheap in stores outside; though you spent a lot on growing it than what its worth.. Though its available in plenty. But the Joy goes one level higher if you start growing something that you dont get outside easily and its very expensive. Yeah!!.. I am making my way towards the title of this post. “The Lettuce”.
Before we start on the techniques of it, a little primer. There are several varieties of Lettuce.
The ones that we get in the super market is mostly Iceberg. It has more water content, and is very crisp. But it is of very less nutritional value. There are other varieties of Lettuce that do have very high nutritional value. Those lettuce that have a mild flavor and pigmented leaves are rich in nutrients and Anti-oxidants.
What are the Cultivars that I sowed:
Lolla Rosa [Loose leaf]
Red Salad Bowl [Oakleaf Lettuce]
Marvel of Four Seasons [ Butter head]
Great Lakes 118.[Ice berg]
Though the varieties are different, the sowing technique remains the same. FYI, Lettuce belongs to the family Asteraceae ( Same as Sunflower, Daisy etc).
Lettuce seeds look like this. The darker seeds are of “Red” colored leaves.
Fill your seedling tray with moist seed starting mix. Your seed starting mix must be free of any pathogens/fungi. Using a sterile seed starting mix will avoid “Damping-off”. Here I use washed Coco-peat/Coco-coir/Coir-pith. Its not soggy but moist.
Take your dibber and make half centimeter pit in each cell of the seedling tray. An old toothbrush can be beheaded to make a dibber as in this picture.
Sow the seeds two per hole. I sow two per hole. If you think one per hole is fine, goahead with one per hole. Once you have sown the seeds completely. Cover the seeds with little coco peat on all the cells. Sprinkle some water using a sprayer if the media is little dry. And important thing, If you are sowing more than one variety of the same veggie, then Label them.
The seeds are sown in the following order from left to right: Great Lakes, Lolla Rossa, Red Salad Bowl, Marvel of Four seasons and the last row is not actually lettuce it is Cabbage ;-). I had just 4 cultivars of lettuce.