Year round leafy greens
If you would like a year round supply of a leafy vegetable goodness, lettuce is the one.
You can buy all sorts of heirloom lettuce seeds now and usually there are now than 100 seeds per packet. They also have a high strike rate. The only issue is that they are very tiny seeds, so open the packet in your kitchen and carefully tap out only about 20 seeds at a time into a small bowl. You could also use only a few seeds from different varieties of lettuce and even Asian greens to plant together.
Add a handful of sand and of soil, mixing them as you go. This will make it easier for you to evenly sow them in a seed tray or pot.
If you reuse commercial seed trays, clay or plastic pots, first soak them in a diluted white vinegar solution for a few minutes and scrub with a brush to ensure that any old soil or contaminants are removed. Next, prepare a soil, sand and manure mix in a bucket adding some water to have a damp mix and then fill your seeds trays to nearly the top. Don’t compress the soil ; it’s great to have it loosely packed to allow the new roots to grow.
Scatter a bit of your mixture in rows and cover with a 5mm sprinkle of soil mix.
Water in with a rain watering can or a spray bottle. Ensure that any excess water is draining freely from the seed trays and that the trays are not sitting in water. You will need to water these trays every 1-2 days, but don’t allow them to dry out. You can add a teaspoon of Epsom Salts to the watering can or sprayer to aid in stronger root development.
The seeds should take between 7-10 days to shoot and about 30-45 days to planting out into a bigger pot or your garden bed. Once the plants are settled in, you will see that you can start to pick the side leaves from the picking lettuces and that the whole lettuce varietals are forming their hearts.
You can repeat this process every fortnight or month, so you have plenty of lettuce leaves to pick all year round and make yummy salads!
As snails love to eat fresh lettuce too, save your coffee grounds and circle the lettuce plants with coffee grounds – snails hate trying to slide over the rough grounds!