Lettuce easily adapts to container gardens. Provide good drainage consistent water and sunlight and your reward will be a ready supply of salad fixings.
Lettuce also grows easily from seed, and this method yields an abundance of interesting selections. Sources such as Renee's Garden offer enticing options including Paris Market Mix, Monet's Garden Mesclun (the word "mesclun" is interchangeable with "gourmet salad mix"), and Farmers Market Lettuce Blend. Try one of these mixes to create a really special salad and display.
- First, fill a well-drained container with damp potting soil, and sprinkle a generous amount of seeds on top.
- Lettuce germinates quickly when exposed to light, so barely cover seeds with a thin layer of potting mix.
- Gently mist or sprinkle with water daily till your new crop germinates--usually within 7 to 10 days.
As the seedlings sprout and grow, the container will become thick with lettuce plants. When they reach 2 inches tall, remove half of them so the remaining ones will have sufficient room to mature. Grasp the tiny plants at their bases, gently pulling them from the soil until half are gone.
Thinning the lettuce also serves another purpose: Gently rinse the freshly pulled greens in cold water, and you'll have the makings of a first salad. Plant a progression of lettuce selections, such as the ones listed in the box above, to keep your salad bowl brimming with delicious greens as the weather warms.
Options abound in the world of salad greens. Here are some others that are easy to grow and do well in the same container with lettuce.
- arugula--slightly thick leaves with a peppery flavor
- frisée--delicate, curly leaves with a gently bitter taste
- mizuna--originating in Japan; dainty, crisp foliage
- radicchio--a heading type, bitter green