Growing Lettuce In Small Spaces
If you're short on garden space, you'll be glad to know that lettuce doesn't have to grow in neat, straight rows. To make the most of limited garden space, use the lettuce seedlings you've started indoors for filling vacancies in the garden from spring through fall. Here's how:
- When turnips and radishes have finished in late spring, transplant some heat-tolerant lettuce varieties into that same space.
- When lima beans are finished in late August, yank out the plants and fill the spot with lettuce seedlings for fall and winter production.
- Use lettuce as a "living mulch" around taller plants like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peppers, staked tomatoes, eggplants, and pole beans. Simply "tuck" lettuce plants into any available space around your other vegetables. The lettuce helps its neighbor by shading the soil, retaining soil moisture, and keeping weeds at bay. (Any plant, including lettuce, that's planted too close to other plants competes for water and nutrients-so don't overplant.)
Sunday, June 13, 2010 10:20 PM
I usually start lettuce in my tomato barrels in march figuring I will harvest much of it by the time my tomatoes need to go in. I have tried several varities & use lots of mulch & steer manure but end up with limp lettuce. What am I doing wrong?
Friday, June 18, 2010 1:34 PM
I'm wondering about arugula. I love the stuff. So I started growing it this summer. My plants are very leggy. I would like to know if it is possible to get it to grow bushier & get the bigger leaves like the one sold at the Health Food Store. Any comments would be helpful.
Friday, June 18, 2010 1:38 PM
PS. Dear Winnifred,
I have lettuse in pots with indirect sun & part sun part shade under a tree. I just start with potting soil, then give them veggie food for fertilizer once a month. They grow nicely this way.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 4:36 PM
I had beautiful lettuce last year but it was really bitter and I discarded it. What nutrients does it need or whatever - to be better tasting?
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 8:32 PM
Where I live, in Zone 9, lettuce does well from about October till roughly April but then as we reach the 80's and later the 90's, it turns bitter. I've tried bringing some inside, where it's air conditioned, but it just dwindles away.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 6:18 PM
As living in the great Pacific Northwest we have a big problem with slugs eating my lettuce. I planted my lettuce in planting urns and had no problem with the critters eating my crop. Any tall container with a lip will do. I just sprinkle seeds in pot and thin as they grow, using the babies for salad. Plus the different colored leaf lettuce makes for a beautiful container garden.
Sunday, February 20, 2011 7:57 AM
Im having trouble also with something eating my lettuce amoung other veggies growing there, I've used all kinds of sprays and ground bug controls and it still happens, I'm also worried all that chemical is not good for me to eat. Im new at this, please help, thanks
Monday, February 21, 2011 5:28 PM
Diatomaceous earth is very helpful in keeping slugs and other crawlers out of your plants. It is made of microscopic sea critters that are sharp like shards of glass. The fine dust irritates bugs and slugs as they crawl across it and they will avoid areas where you have sprinkled it. It is all natural and the only harm is if you inhale large amounts of the dust while applying it (wear a mask to prevent inhalation if you are treating a large area).
Thursday, February 24, 2011 4:51 PM
The slugs are a real pain, but my dad used to put out stale beer (which they are apparently very fond of, but they can't swim and can't deal with it and die), in containers part buried into the soil. It's messy cleanup, but it works.
Earwigs are the monsters out here in Colorado. It's dry and they love lettuce since it gets a bit more water (and retains it in all it's places where the leaves meet), and they can chew up a storm. I have yet to find a foolproof way to deal with them. Any suggestions would be helpful.
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 8:52 AM
Is it alright to plant lettuce in an old galvanized tub.I wonder about any chemicals that might leach out into the soil or be harmful.
Friday, March 18, 2011 9:28 PM
Can I plant lettuce in a container on a sunporch?
Monday, March 21, 2011 3:56 PM
i have my lettuce growing in a pot on my porch right now. i live in zone 8, and its already getting into the lower 80s on some days, im hoping it will survive long enough for a couple salads, lol.
i had great luck the spring and early summer before last with lettuce, and all i did was put it in the ground, keep the area weeded, and it ended up perfect. it was easy enough for my and my then 5 year old son to take care of. guess ill see what happens this year in a couple weeks....
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 12:25 AM
I know an old tale for those slugs : place an open container full of beer by the lettuce, they love the smell and since they can't swing , well you now the rest.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 4:38 PM
for flowerchildfirehill - arugula hates heat and will bolt and get leggy. it loves cooler and will even overwinter - i live in pittsburgh and when the snow melted there was my arugula which i am enjoying thoroughly before i plant new seed this spring - it is now 3/30
Thursday, March 31, 2011 11:58 AM
I live in SE PA-close to Philadelphia but out in a great western suburb with acre plus yards. It is zone 6 which should be perfect for lettuce. However, I have planted it 3 years in a row as early as possible. Every year we have had early, hot, humid spells and my lettuce bolts well before it is ready to harvest. Any suggestions? The rest of my gardens grow so well that sometimes I am overwhelmed (I am impressed easily so this isn't bragging-my garden is the same as my neighbors'). But this lettuce problem is driving me goofy, especially since my family loves salads. On a different note, a friend told me the only month this year that she didn't get to pick arugula was February! Maybe I should switch crops?
Wednesday, April 06, 2011 1:03 PM
very disappointing membership, no one even ansewrs the questions for the members??? this company is all hype I think,s o far not worth the $24, but the magazine was nice.
Friday, April 08, 2011 9:42 PM
@Rippi: Using all of those chemicals is harmful to you, the plants, the insects and the important soil microbes. The soil is alive with millions and millions of living organisms in just one teaspoon of soil -- unless you poison them. These organisms are essential to healthy plants. Spraying kills the good bugs and the bad bugs. You need good bugs to eat the bad ones, else the bad ones will win. Slugs can be a big problem. As mentioned above, try diatomaceous earth or cheap, stale beer in a shallow bowl sunk in the ground to ground level. Or, stir together water, sugar, and yeast to make 'Slugweiser' (Jerry Baker's term). It will ferment and have the same attraction to the slugs/snails. Or you can go out with a flashlight at night and catch the culprits in the act and hand-pick them. Also, don't plant lettuce in full sun. I does better in shade. Lettuce also doesn't like heat.
Saturday, April 09, 2011 9:39 AM
ekosinski: My suggestion is to put row cover over your plants as soon as you bring them outside.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 9:43 AM
Lettuce can be found in a range of colors these days and can make a very attractive colorful border to your flower bed -Don't confine it to a veggie garden -it is way too pretty! And you can cut leaves as you wish and many varieties will come back again and again! What a bonus -Enjoy!!!
Tuesday, May 03, 2011 12:11 PM
To help keep lettuce from bolting during those warmer spells transplant it. Take it up with root ball and all and move it to another spot in the garden. If at all possible pick a cooler spot in the garden, perhaps under a tomoto platnt. The transplanting gets it to put its energy back in to roots and not into seeds while it still develops some of the greens. Of course the other thing to do is find a heat tolerant variety. I haven't tried it yet, but I've been looking at Lettuce Green Ice from Park seeds. They claim it won't bolt, but I'm not sure about the taste once the summer heats up.
Thursday, May 05, 2011 8:02 PM
Mim, I have had the same problem with lettuce bolting. Last year I started seeds in pots and then transplanted them out the end of August. I did the same thing with spinach. For the first time, I had wonderful lettuce and spinach. You just need to keep them watered in the hot Aug. weather, but the days are shortening so they don't bolt like they do in the spring. I even had one of me spinach plants make it through our winter (I live in Montana--we had over 12 ft. of snow this winter!)
Monday, May 09, 2011 7:47 AM
I have had luck with my lettuce crop in Pittsburgh PA, however have never been able to get anything other than the first clipping to grow back. This year I have just gone to pulling the crop from the ground and replanting another seedling. Is there a secret to how to cut back the plant in order for it to continue to produce?
Saturday, May 21, 2011 10:50 AM
Has anyone tried crushed egg shells under & around their lettuce? I have used the crushed egg shells under & around my Hostas. But you need to do this before you see little holes in the leaves. I've also used "Wood Ashes" under my Hostas. I've heard about the beer, but have not tried it. Does the beer really work?
Sunday, May 22, 2011 8:52 AM
Thanks for reminding me about egg shells as I do have plenty in a pile (crushed)that the female birds eat & for the hostas. Yes, the beer in a dish (1 of those little yogurt cups) set into ground does work. Also thanks for the wood ash comment as I will be using that too! Who said about regrowing after cutting....if you harvest the bottom leaves only, the lettuce will keep growing!
Thursday, May 26, 2011 12:30 PM
anybody have birds ever eat thier tomatos
Thursday, May 26, 2011 6:20 PM
Well, not exactly.....it was actually picking at the tomato to get a bug that was eating the tomato.
Friday, May 27, 2011 6:04 PM
yea my chickens loved my tomatoes last year and not just the bugs, they ate my zucchinni too! well cabage and everything.. they are pigs that's why i got rid of them. I liked letting them loose they're better that way and the thought of keeping them pinned totally ruined it
Wednesday, June 01, 2011 4:12 PM
i live in arizona and I do dnot know if my plants are not living because of the heat or because of lack of fertilizing the problem of fertilizing is there are too many types for each plant which is costy so I am wondering if I can use one kind of fertilizer for all plants???
Thursday, June 02, 2011 2:19 PM
Sure you can use 1 fertilizer. As mentioned before, lettuce do not like heat.
Friday, June 10, 2011 10:50 PM
We grow our small white lettuce and mustard green in raise bed on deck, mulch with natural cedar mulch, cover at night time to prevent bugs, mosquito, and any time we have hails, heavy rain, or too much sun. Water with collected rain water once a day. So far, we cut two times for salad. We leave the center 2 or 3 leaves only for continue growth.
Monday, August 08, 2011 9:41 AM
i i live in zone 7. when would be the best time to plant lettuce for the fall and what type should i plant?
Monday, August 08, 2011 2:15 PM
you could check with a local gardening cooperative extension service or a seed company that would be able to help you with temperature qualifications & which lettuce is good for your area. Seed co. example: Burpee, Stokes hope this can help you
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 9:48 AM
Chickens scratched plants out of the dirt, and devoured what they did not uproot. However, we discovered that ducks are a wonderful garden companion. We began "training" our ducklings by finely chopping the weeds we wanted them to eat while they were caged. When they were old enough to roam a bit, they did the weeding for us. Rarely do they eat something they are not supposed to, although they did make a bed in my mustard patch. They are fantastic slug and bug destoyers. They are affectionate and comical companions, adapting well to our city lot. A trio is sufficient for our large garden.
Saturday, March 31, 2012 2:24 PM
can head lettuce be grown in NE.Ohio? if so when do i plant?
Sunday, April 01, 2012 10:49 AM
yes busterdog. order seeds now...Stokeseeds, Park, Burpee or try to find seed packages sold locally so you could try to plant a few seeds outside now to see what happens! Also try starting a few seeds on a window sill. Good luck and enjoy the experimenting.