Tips for Growing Lettuce Indoors

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It was quite exciting to come home and see how much the seedlings had grown while I was away for a few days. My trusty assistant did a fine job watering, and all of the small blocks are looking good. Turns out that 3 1/2 days was about as long as lettuce in 4" pots could manage without watering; some were just starting to wilt. Smaller lettuce in 2" soil blocks were fine for that long without watering as well. While I was gone the mustard mesclun greens that I had sowed a few days ago had 'popped' and become leggy, so they have been moved to the light station. Mustard greens are growing really fast at a rate almost twice that of lettuce-- so I am thinking that they are likely a good choice to harvest young and blend in with the lettuce leaves for winter salads (or stir fry). In this photo of my light set-up 5 week old lettuce is shown top right in 4" pots, and 3 week old lettuce bottom right growing in 3/4" soil blocks. Believe it or not there are 400 of those mini soil blocks squeezed in on the shelves, with herb, lettuce and flower seeds. In the second photo are Romaine's that I am experimenting with, to see how long I can hold them in tall 1" wide blocks. In behind is a tray with Tokyo Bekana, Fun Jen, mizuna and kale. I keep these indoors overnight and then punt out on the deck each morning. They are growing slowly since it is still cold outside.
 

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Branching Out

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Another batch of lettuce plants went to some friends yesterday. They are accustomed to having salad every day with dinner, but with the high prices they have hardly eaten lettuce all winter. They were planning on harvesting some right away.
 

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Branching Out

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I decided that no matter how pretty these lettuce plants were, I had better start picking some leaves-- so the plants got their first hair cut and we got a huge bowl of fresh greens. Both the bunny and I had salad for lunch!
 

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Branching Out

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Thank you! I was reading one of Frank Morton's essays on lettuce, in which he suggests that lettuce can sometimes be so beautiful that it almost begins to resemble a flower. I must agree with him, given that yesterday I sat for half and hour just staring at the plants and marvelling at the different colours and leaf types. Nature is so very amazing.
 

meadow

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I hope I can remember to reread your thread tomorrow and (hopefully) follow in your footsteps. The ones I grew this time last year were not nearly so gorgeous as yours. Although (now that I think about it) we were nibbling leaves at the first chance, so I suppose that could account for some of it. ;)
 

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About a month ago I started five kinds of mystery lettuce that had gone to seed for me last summer. Of the five, one batch came up with all green plants, one with all red, and three of them had a mix of red and green. Of this bunch, the most intriguing for me is the tall slender frilly one in the top right corner. I think when the weather warms I will plant them out all together, to see what kind of crosses the next generation might bring. In the mean time I will be able to lightly harvest their leaves.
 

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Did you know that if you dip your finger in water and then touch a fungus gnat, the gnat sticks to your finger? I am having great success in squishing them this way. Recently I bought a bug zapper that emits a funky purple light, and it has taken care of quite a few bug too. It comes with a removable bottom, so you can just tip it out to see what you have caught.
 

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