I have been growing lettuce in containers for several years now. Why you might ask?
- Lettuce is pretty, some lettuce varieties are as colorful as flowers and their leaves come in so many shapes and sizes. While it can star as the thriller in a container, it is also nice as a filler, complimenting the colors of other flowers. I’ve always believed that edible gardens can be functional and beautiful.
- I hate slugs, Yes, I know that they have a purpose in the garden other than destroying your vegetables, but I really don’t want them in my lettuce. So far, I have suffered no slug damage to lettuce in pots.
- You can locate your lettuce closer to the house for ease of harvesting
- When you harvest your lettuce, if you planted petunias or pansies or other flowers in the same pot, they will fill in the blanks
Tips for Successful Container Lettuce
Location: As with all lettuce, place container in lots of sun. It can do afternoon shade and morning SUN.
Containers: As with any container garden use containers that have good drainage and that will accommodate the amount of plants you are using. Consider the size of the lettuce at maturity. Jadeite and Mayan Jaguar are mini-romaines and can be planted alone in a smaller pot. Elf Ears and Better Angel can be huge plants when full grown and will need more space. Add some flowers such as petunias and you can up the size of the pot. Colanders, stock pots, wooden pots, any kind of pot with proper drainage will work fine. You may have to put a hole in the bottom. Also remember that a larger pot will need less watering.
Soil: I can’t say this enough, NEVER use garden soil in a pot. EVER. Choose a quality, well draining potting soil.
Water and Fertilizer: Keep your container from drying out. Fertilize with a high nitrogen fertilizer. Since you are watering frequently, this leaches out the nutrients faster than if they are planted in the ground, You will need to fertilize once a week or every two weeks depending on the amount of watering you are doing. Dilute the liquid fertilize to ¼ or 1/2 strength. You can also use a dry fertilizer such as Osmocote. Whichever way you go, ALWAYS read the directions on the package.
Harvesting: Leaf lettuces can be used as :”cut and come again” lettuce, Just remember that you will get about 3 cuts before the plant starts to decline.