Growing Lettuce

June 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Lettuce has been cultivated since the earliest times and was very popular during the middle ages.

Lettuce contains a variety of minerals, carotene and alkaloids such as asparagine, lactucin and hyoscyamine.

Lettuce has got a lot going for it (especially if you’re a rat, Ashley saw one on the premises the other day and it may be the culprits that attacked my cucumber seedlings!), but it doesn’t seem to inspire too much creativity in the kitchen. Or does it? You haven’t tasted my soups and juices yet!?

Lettuce grows well under cooler conditions and needs plenty of water. Hard freeze will still damage lettuce but lettuce can survive light freezes. It’s easy to grow!

Getting started

Lettuce needs a well-draining soil with plenty of organic compost mixed in. Sandy to loamy soils work well for lettuce. Keep soil pH at around 6.5 for best results. With high quality compost, lettuce shouldn’t need additional fertilizer.

I’ve put our seeds in round big pots. The lettuce appears in 8-10 days. Planting every 2-3 weeks should keep us in stock, and even be able to give away or trade some.

Maintenance

Mulching is a good idea. Use a 3-4 inch layer of bark chips, shredded wood, straw, etc. The mulch will break down over time, adding nutrients to the soil. Mulch will also help soil retain moisture and will keep weeds from growing.

Harvesting

Harvesting at the correct time is important for maximizing its flavor and texture. If it sits in the garden or pots too long, it will increase in bitterness and the leaves will become tougher. Lettuce is generally ready to harvest about 80 days after planting with seeds and about 60 days after using seedlings.

Remedies

Lettuce has a mild laxative effect and improves the odor of foul-smelling stool. It is also used to treat nervous cough, diabetes, asthma, and pain.

Lettuce juice has a calming effect and can be used to aid sleep and decrease sexual ardor. It is frequently used to treat premature ejaculation in men and increases fertility.

Recipes

  • Lettuce and garlic, chive soup
  • Watercress and lettuce soup
  • Lettuce, carrot and cucumber juice
  • More to follow …
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