Seedlings should have at least two pairs of true leaves and be about 3 to 4 inches (7.5-9 cm.) tall before thinning. Examine the seedlings to see which appear to be the healthiest and strongest, and thin the smaller plants around those when the soil is damp, says Gardener’s World. Head lettuces grow as one plant; leaf lettuces grow as individual plants, and both are easy to grow. Allow the remaining seedlings to grow to maturity without disturbance. (You can try transplanting the thinnings but why waste your time when lettuce seed is so cheap). Whether you are planting tomatoes or lettuce, the seedlings always find a way to thin out and become reedy.. Since old lettuces will eventually bolt, making them bitter, don’t be afraid to harvest an entire plant before it passes its peak. Since leaf lettuce can be harvested by the leaf, it might feel like the more seeds planted, the bigger the yield. All plants need air circulation. Your email address will not be published. Once harvested, leaf lettuces can keep for up to two weeks in a plastic storage bag. Thin seedlings… Tomato, zucchini, broccoli, kale, lettuce, and beet seedlings tend to … Do thin … Log in, 11 Ways to Keep Your Chickens Cool This Summer ». When I grow lettuce in a container, I just direct seed and thin to about 1 plant/square inch, then as they get bigger I cut them out and eat the young greens. Use a small pair of scissors to cut the shoots off the seedlings you aren’t keeping. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Thin by Rake (Optional) If you are growing vegetable seedlings in blocks rather than rows, you can run a flexible rake through the seedlings to thin them out. Third, seedlings … Plant out Lettuce seeds in early spring once the frosts have gone. First, seedlings that are too tall will have problems when they are moved outdoors. For indoor starts, sow a few Bibb lettuce seeds in each cell of a seed tray. Thin plants to correct spacing once they reach a few inches tall. Decide which seedlings to thin out – Choose the strongest seedling in the bunch to keep, and then thin the rest. In order to get the best-tasting yield, leaf lettuces should be properly thinned. Prepare seed trays. I planted them in a seed starting mix in flat trays by planting 3 or 4 seeds together in one hole. However, the seedlings won't be perfectly spaced. Cut the seedlings at soil level to thin root vegetables. When to sow Lettuce seeds. If growing outdoors, be sure to protect the lettuces from rabbits, squirrels and deer, who may consider your garden a buffet line. In about 7-10 days, the seedlings will sprout. A good way to 'thin' especially the fine, tiny plants that are bunched together, is to use needle-nose plyers..you can grab the base of the single plant you wish to remove, and pull it gently, up and away … … Leaf lettuce that is packed in too tightly without adequate air circulation can often taste bitter because each individual plant is competing for resources; it can also go to seed early (a process called bolting) which ruins the taste. Thinning them will give each healthyseedling space and airflow it needs to become a robust lettuce plant. Luckily, lettuce shouldn’t be planted too deeply. If you have some that seem to close together, simply pull up ones that are in the way. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. Garden lettuce comes in two distinct varieties: head lettuce and leaf lettuce (both Lactuca sativa), which generally grow best in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 10, according to Sympathink. Leaf lettuces are usually ready to harvest within six to eight weeks from planting; check the seed packet to know when to expect harvest. Thinning. Thinning your plants gives them space to grow to larger leaves and dense hearts. Two weeks after seeding a garden bed with lettuce you’ll have tons of little seedlings popping out of the ground. Wait to thin … Sow Lettuce seeds 4 inches apart; later thin seedlings … I positioned the trays in the bright test window in my house but the seedlings … Closely examine the plants. Thin using a garden scissors to snip off … How to thin plants . It means precious hours tending the seedlings … Keep in mind that even the baby seedlings can be eaten in salads. Do this for vegetables like beetroot, carrot, parsnip, … Step 1. Learn which variety of lettuce you are planting and know it’s growing needs. If the seedlings have grown close together, their roots could be intertwined, and tugging one out could disturb its neighbors. Leaf lettuces should be direct sown whenever possible, meaning that the seeds are planted where the plants will mature. It also reduces competition between the plants for resources and improves air circulation. Lettuce seeds are small, so it can be difficult to plant them at specific intervals. However, even leaf lettuce should be properly spaced in a garden. Some plants will grow faster than others and as they’re removed, others grow up to take their place. Leaves can be directly harvested using garden or kitchen shears. Thin leaf lettuce seedlings to 4 inches apart. You can start your lettuce seeds in store-bought seed trays or make your own out of an old egg carton, box or newspaper.Fill the seed trays to within 1 ⁄ 2 inch (1.3 cm) of the top with a soilless growing medium. Replant seeds in areas where plant spacing is too far (if applicable). Thin seedlings as soon as the first true leaves appear and continue until the plants are 30cm (12in) apart. Sow Lettuce seed ¼ to ½ inch deep. Look over your lettuce seedlings. Since there’s no good way to preserve lettuce, most gardeners will plant a new row each week, ensuring they’ll have multiple harvests of lettuce to enjoy. See the “How To Choose Which Seedlings To Thin” section above to figure out which seedlings to thin, and which ones to keep. Head lettuce is usually grown from seeds started indoors during warm weather for a fall garden. Baby lettuce mixes should be seeded thickly with about 30 plants per row foot. If this is the case, use clean kitchen shears to snip off the seedlings at ground level. Transplant head lettuce … Depending on the season and the plan for the lettuce, plants can also be cut back completely or pulled up entirely. Evening hours are a good time to thin seedlings as the cooler temps and … Transplanting lettuce seedlings before they get leggy is a matter of timing; lettuce is a cool-weather plant and does best when outdoor temperatures are in the 60s and 70s. When you purchase seeds, the seed … She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity (www.sweetfrivolity.com). Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to grow outside, … If you have ever tried planting vegetables, you will admit that your seedlings becoming leggy is a nemesis that is difficult to avoid.. Be sure to fertilize and mulch occasionally, and weed the garden particularly well around leaf lettuce; weeds will compete for resources with the other small plants. Aim to thin leaves … Raking will free up more space for remaining seedlings to grow and is much faster than plucking or cutting seedlings … Here's and … 1. Because they are thin and floppy, they can’t stand up as well to natural occurrences like wind and hard rain. I started lettuce seedlings about 14 or 15 days ago. Then cover with hand sprinkled compost or soil and tamp. Leaf lettuce varieties can be grown closer together than head varieties but still need to be thinned out 4-6 inches apart. Romaine and butterhead lettuce seedlings require 6 to 8 inches between each plant. Follow similar steps whether you are thinning romaine seedlings or another variety of lettuce. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com), and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. Use garden snips or a scissors to thin out crowded seedlings. Since lettuce can’t be frozen or otherwise saved, be sure to fully enjoy the harvest once the lettuces are ready. This can sometimes be discouraging, especially for anyone just starting the farming journey. Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. Tip #4: Starting Lettuce Seeds in a Garden. Leggy seedlings often happen with seeds started indoors and any type of vegetable, herb, or flower seedling can be affected. Sow lettuce seed into beds very … It's fussy work, and always hard to decide which ones to save and which to toss. The best approach is to plant seeds in a row, then wait until sprouts reach a few inches in height; most leaf lettuces should be thinned to about 4 to 6 inches apart, but check the information on the seed packet to confirm the desired distance. The seedlings you thin out can be washed and eaten too. Moisten the medium in preparation for sowing the seeds. If you sow seed so thickly that there is no space between seedlings and don’t plan to thin, make sure that air is not blocked around that patch of lettuce or … Second, floppy seedlings have a hard time growing up to be strong plants. The plants are ready for thinning when the second set of true leaves shows up. Keep soil moist during the germination period. Removed seedlings can be transplanted or eaten as delicious, tender microgreens. Cover very lightly with a fine starter soil. When planting seed mixes (mesclun) we don’t worry too much about immediate thinning. Sympathink: How to Grow Baby Oakleaf Lettuce, Gardener's World: How to Thin Salad Leaves. Water when the soil is dry; the best time to … Use the plants that were thinned out to make a salad so they don’t have to go to waste. Cutting the plant back to the soil can stimulate it to produce more leaves, but the timing should follow the season (for instance, cutting the plant back in late fall may not yield additional lettuce). I like to pull up the smaller seedlings that look less vigorous and leave the stronger looking plants. Although, each variety will vary so be sure to check its seed … Lettuce seeds are small, so it can be difficult to plant them at specific intervals. The leaves are ready to be eaten when they are firm but not hard (lettuce becomes woody if harvested too late); older leaves should be harvested, even if not to eat, to stimulate the growth of new leaves. Nobody likes to thin seedlings. Thinning lettuce plants is simple. Lettuce grows best in sheltered areas with a few hours of direct sunlight. How to Know When Romaine Lettuce Is Ready to Pick? Works fine for me, and with that grow light, you'd probably be able to have lettuce … Here’s how to thin vegetable seedlings: Thin seedlings in the cool of the day or an hour or so after they have been watered; the seedlings will be plump with moisture. Lettuce prefers the cooler temperatures of spring and fall, but can be grown during the summer if given enough shade and water. Frivolity ( www.sweetfrivolity.com ) and is much faster than others and as they ’ re removed, grow. … All plants need air circulation warm weather for a fall garden shoots. 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