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How to sow and grow lettuce

Our loose leaf lettuce includes of two fast-growing varieties. Instead of harvesting all at once, you can pick leaves from the mature plants for a long time.
Pluksla in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Our loose leaf lettuce

What is loose leaf lettuce?

All lettuce varieties that don't form heads, but can be harvested as individuals leaves are called loose leaf lettuce. When you harvest it, you pick the outer leaves and leave the center so it can continue to grow. 

Our loose leaf lettuce includes 2 varieties: one with tender yellow-green leaves and one with firmer reddish leaves.

What's in lettuce?

There aren't that many vitamins and minerals in lettuce, but every little bit helps, right? 😉

There's a reasonable amount of vitamin A, and some B11 and C, iron, and potassium. So, it's not a superfood like winter purslane, but still good for you.
Pluksla in de Airbak van de Makkelijke Moestuin
Lettuce growing in early spring

More about our lettuce seeds

An easy-to-grow blend of 2 leafy lettuce varieties: 'American Red Edge' and 'Australian Yellow'. Both produce loose leaves instead of heads, so you pick them as they grow. 

  • Species name: mixed loose leaf lettuce 
  • Family: leaf 
  • Plants per square patch:
  • Height: 15 to 25 cm 
  • Sowing time: mid-March through September 
  • Sowing depth: 0.5 to 1 cm 
  • Germination time: 5 - 18°C in 2 - 14 days 
  • Time to harvest: from 5 to 7 weeks 
  • Sunlight: can grow in sun or shade

We sell lettuce seed bags separately, or, you can get them as part of a seed pack:

What do you need to grow loose leaf lettuce yourself?

All you need is:
  • a 30x30 cm patch with airy, nutrient-rich soil mix
  • lettuce seeds
  • a place with 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 loose leaf 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.
Pluksla groeit extreem goed op de Makkelijke Moestuinmix
Medium sized crops

How do you sow and grow lettuce?

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

Each vegetable 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.

So you don't need to know how to grow lettuce before you start: 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:
Pluksla staat in de Makkelijke Moestuin app

Level 1: Sowing lettuce

Choose a square patch at the front of your garden box in the 1st or 2nd row. Loosen up the moist MM-Mix and sow like this:
  • poke 4 holes in the patch (no deeper than 1 cm)
  • put 2 to 3 seeds in each hole
  • carefully cover up the holes with soil mix

After about a week, you'll see something green come up. It depends a bit on the weather.

Level 2: 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: Thinning lettuce seedlings

When several seedlings come up in each spot that you sowed, choose the best ones and remove the rest: that's called thinning out. It might sound harsh, but it's necessary. The remaining plants need enough room to grow.

Here's how: take a pair of scissors, leave the biggest and prettiest seedling per hole, and cut off the others at ground level. Never pull them up like a weed. That can damage the roots of your remaining plants.

I like to leave 2 plants of both types. The yellow variety's seedlings are slightly lighter in color than the red lettuce.

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

And keep an eye out for snails: they love these seedlings.
Klein pluksla plantje in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Small lettuce plant - about 3 weeks old

Level 4: Taking care of your lettuce plants

After a week or 2, your seedlings will become small plants. You hardly need to do anything: if the weather's dry, give them some water and remove the odd dead or yellow leaf.

Again: keep an eye out for snails, the rest is easy 🙂
Middelgrote pluksla-plantjes in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Medium sized lettuce plants

Level 5: Harvesting lettuce

About 5 to 6 weeks after sowing, your plants are ready for the first harvest.

Cut or pick off leaves from the outside of the plant, close to the ground. Leave some small leaves and the center of the plants so they can continue to grow from the inside.

This way you can can keep harvesting for longer.
Oogstbare pluksla in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Lettuce ready for harvesting

What do you use lettuce for?

You use the leaves as lettuce for salads. They're also tasty in green smoothies or on a healthy sandwich.

Start harvesting as soon as the leaves are about 10 cm long. They're still tender then: delicious for green salads. Even when the leaves are larger, they stay nice and fresh.

Only when the plants start to bolt do the leaves get tougher and a little bitter. Then use those leaves in a stew, stir fry, or soup.
Pluksla kan grote planten vormen in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Lettuce plants can get pretty big

The last levels

Keep harvesting your loose leaf lettuce until the plants shoot up from the middle. This means that they'll start to flower soon.

That upward growth means it's time to harvest right away. The leaves won't be as tasty raw, but are still good in a stew or stir fry.

The last level: empty your lettuce patch in your garden box or your MM-Mini and prepare it for the next round of sowing. 
Doorgeschoten pluksla in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Bolting lettuce: the flower buds are already visible

Want to sow and grow lettuce yourself?

It's an easy vegetable to grow, you can harvest it for a long time, and the leaves look and taste fantastic.

Plus, our materials and app make it almost impossible to fail 😀

You can buy your lettuce seeds here or get started with a complete starter kit:
Enjoy!
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