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How to sow and grow lamb's lettuce

Lamb's lettuce is a great vegetable for late fall, winter, and early spring. Ideal for the empty square patches in your garden box at the end of summer.
Lamb's lettuce

What is lamb's lettuce?

Lamb's lettuce is a leafy vegetable. It is related to valerian- so, it's not actually lettuce. Since we don't have any other valerians in the Planty Garden, we classify it as a leaf vegetable. If you want to sow in a patch that already had lettuce or another leaf vegetable in it - go for it.

Since it is cold-resistant, you can sow lamb's lettuce in summer for fall and winter harvests. 

Lamb's lettuce is also delicious, especially in a salad.

Tasty and healthy

Lamb's lettuce leaves are great for you. They contain vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, A, C, B11 (folic acid), iron, and beta-carotene, which protects your body from the sun's UV rays.

Lamb's lettuce is also one of the few vegetables that contains a lot of omega 3. Winter purslane is another.

More about our lamb's lettuce seeds

What do you need to grow your own lamb's lettuce?

Here's everything you need:
  • a 30x30 cm patch with airy, nutrient-rich soil mix
  • lamb's lettuce seeds
  • a place with at least 4 hours of sunlight a day

In other words, an MM-Mini, or a square patch in one of our garden boxes, filled with MM-Mix.

Growing your own lamb's lettuce in this perfect soil mix is super easy. If you use poor-quality (potting) soil, it's much harder and the results will be disappointing. So just go for the best.
Veldsla kan extreem goed tegen kou: zelfs flinke vorst
Lamb's lettuce can handle severe frost

How do you sow and grow lamb's lettuce?

Lamb's lettuce is included in the free Planty Gardening app. Use it, and you'll get step-by-step guidance from seed to harvest.

Each plant goes through a number of stages - we call them levels. The app tells you exactly what to do at each level and checks in when your plants are ready for the next one.

So you don't need to know how to grow lamb's lettuce in advance: the app takes you through every step.

But if you'd like to read more about those steps, here's what the process looks like:
Zaailingen van veldsla
Lamb's lettuce seeds

Level 1: Sowing lamb's lettuce

Choose a square patch at the front of your garden box. Loosen up the damp MM-Mix and sow like this:
  • poke 9 holes in the patch (no deeper than 1 cm)
  • put 3 to 4 seeds in each hole
  • carefully cover up the holes with soil mix
After about 2 to 3 weeks, you'll see something green come up. It depends a bit on the weather.
Zaailingen van veldsla in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Lamb's lettuce seedlings

Level 2: Lamb's lettuce seedlings

As soon as you see the first seedlings, you know things are going well. They probably won't all come up at once, but give it another week.

Then it's time for the next level.

Level 3: No thinning necessary

Lamb's lettuce plants remain small, so if clusters of seedlings come up, you can just leave them there. No need to thin them out. 

If you see spots where nothing came up, sow a few more seeds.

Level 4: Caring for your lamb's lettuce

After a week or 2, your seedlings will become small plants. 

There's not much for you to do in the coming month: if the weather's dry, give them some water and remove the odd dead or yellow leaf. Easy 🙂

They grow easily and you won't have any problem with pests.
Kleine veldsla plantjes in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Lamb's lettuce plants don't need much attention

Level 5: Harvesting

This level starts 9 to 10 weeks after sowing: the plants are ready for the first harvest.

You can harvest in 2 ways.

Option 1:

Cut or pick the individual leaves. As long as you leave the heart of the little plants, new leaves will appear. This way you can keep harvesting for a few weeks.

Option 2:

Cut off the plants 2 cm above the soil mix. The plants will grow back after 3 weeks and you can harvest again.
Veldsla in een Planty of Mini-MM: klaar om te oogsten
Veldsla in een Planty: klaar om te oogsten

What do you use lamb's lettuce for?

I like lamb's lettuce best raw in a salad. You can also add a handful of leaves to a green smoothie. There aren't many other fresh greens available in the winter, so it's a real treat.
When the plants start to flower, the leaves become coarse and bitter. Toss them in a stew or stir fry. 

Level 6 and 7: The last levels

Keep harvesting your lamb's lettuce until the plants start to flower. Then the leaves get a more bitter flavor and just won't be as nice. 

The last level: empty your lamb's lettuce patch and get ready to sow something new.
Volwassen veldsla plantjes in de Makkelijke Moestuin, vlak voor ze in bloei schieten
Adult lamb's lettuce just before they flower

In a cold frame or greenhouse

Lamb's lettuce does well in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse. If you grow with those, you can sow in winter.

The photo below is of lamb's lettuce growing in April. Sown in December.

It took a long time for them to come up, but when they did, the plants grew faster than in the garden box outside. The leaves were more tender and stayed that way longer too.
Veldsla in een koude bak
Lamb's lettuce in a cold frame

So: how about growing your own lamb's lettuce?

It's a tasty and easy vegetable to grow, perfect for when most of your vegetable patches are empty in those colder months. And you don't have to worry about slugs or pests.

Plus: our materials and app make it almost impossible to fail 🙂

Order your lamb's lettuce seeds here or get started with a complete starter kit:

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