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Wait to thin … When you purchase seeds, the seed … Your email address will not be published. Once harvested, leaf lettuces can keep for up to two weeks in a plastic storage bag. The seedlings you thin out can be washed and eaten too. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. All plants need air circulation. Cut the seedlings at soil level to thin root vegetables. Leggy seedlings often happen with seeds started indoors and any type of vegetable, herb, or flower seedling can be affected. Garden lettuce comes in two distinct varieties: head lettuce and leaf lettuce (both Lactuca sativa), which generally grow best in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 10, according to Sympathink. It's fussy work, and always hard to decide which ones to save and which to toss. Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. Since lettuce can’t be frozen or otherwise saved, be sure to fully enjoy the harvest once the lettuces are ready. Leaf lettuces should be direct sown whenever possible, meaning that the seeds are planted where the plants will mature. If you sow seed so thickly that there is no space between seedlings and don’t plan to thin, make sure that air is not blocked around that patch of lettuce or … Be sure to fertilize and mulch occasionally, and weed the garden particularly well around leaf lettuce; weeds will compete for resources with the other small plants. Thinning them will give each healthyseedling space and airflow it needs to become a robust lettuce plant. Plant out Lettuce seeds in early spring once the frosts have gone. Thin using a garden scissors to snip off … Transplant head lettuce … She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com), and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. If the seedlings have grown close together, their roots could be intertwined, and tugging one out could disturb its neighbors. Then cover with hand sprinkled compost or soil and tamp. Third, seedlings … Look over your lettuce seedlings. How to thin plants . Evening hours are a good time to thin seedlings as the cooler temps and … Since leaf lettuce can be harvested by the leaf, it might feel like the more seeds planted, the bigger the yield. The best approach is to plant seeds in a row, then wait until sprouts reach a few inches in height; most leaf lettuces should be thinned to about 4 to 6 inches apart, but check the information on the seed packet to confirm the desired distance. Tomato, zucchini, broccoli, kale, lettuce, and beet seedlings tend to … Thin by Rake (Optional) If you are growing vegetable seedlings in blocks rather than rows, you can run a flexible rake through the seedlings to thin them out. Here’s how to thin vegetable seedlings: Thin seedlings in the cool of the day or an hour or so after they have been watered; the seedlings will be plump with moisture. Thin leaf lettuce seedlings to 4 inches apart. Cutting the plant back to the soil can stimulate it to produce more leaves, but the timing should follow the season (for instance, cutting the plant back in late fall may not yield additional lettuce). A good way to 'thin' especially the fine, tiny plants that are bunched together, is to use needle-nose plyers..you can grab the base of the single plant you wish to remove, and pull it gently, up and away … Second, floppy seedlings have a hard time growing up to be strong plants. Thin seedlings… When planting seed mixes (mesclun) we don’t worry too much about immediate thinning. Log in, 11 Ways to Keep Your Chickens Cool This Summer ». Transplanting lettuce seedlings before they get leggy is a matter of timing; lettuce is a cool-weather plant and does best when outdoor temperatures are in the 60s and 70s. Thin plants to correct spacing once they reach a few inches tall. Nobody likes to thin seedlings. First, seedlings that are too tall will have problems when they are moved outdoors. I started lettuce seedlings about 14 or 15 days ago. How to Know When Romaine Lettuce Is Ready to Pick? Prepare seed trays. 1. Step 1. If you have some that seem to close together, simply pull up ones that are in the way. Keep in mind that even the baby seedlings can be eaten in salads. This can sometimes be discouraging, especially for anyone just starting the farming journey. Because they are thin and floppy, they can’t stand up as well to natural occurrences like wind and hard rain. Cover very lightly with a fine starter soil. Since old lettuces will eventually bolt, making them bitter, don’t be afraid to harvest an entire plant before it passes its peak. However, even leaf lettuce should be properly spaced in a garden. Decide which seedlings to thin out – Choose the strongest seedling in the bunch to keep, and then thin the rest. I like to pull up the smaller seedlings that look less vigorous and leave the stronger looking plants. Lettuce prefers the cooler temperatures of spring and fall, but can be grown during the summer if given enough shade and water. … She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. It means precious hours tending the seedlings … I planted them in a seed starting mix in flat trays by planting 3 or 4 seeds together in one hole. When I grow lettuce in a container, I just direct seed and thin to about 1 plant/square inch, then as they get bigger I cut them out and eat the young greens. Use a small pair of scissors to cut the shoots off the seedlings you aren’t keeping. Closely examine the plants. Do thin … You can start your lettuce seeds in store-bought seed trays or make your own out of an old egg carton, box or newspaper.Fill the seed trays to within 1 ⁄ 2 inch (1.3 cm) of the top with a soilless growing medium. Lettuce seeds are small, so it can be difficult to plant them at specific intervals. Thinning your plants gives them space to grow to larger leaves and dense hearts. Aim to thin leaves … Leaf lettuces are usually ready to harvest within six to eight weeks from planting; check the seed packet to know when to expect harvest. Seedlings should have at least two pairs of true leaves and be about 3 to 4 inches (7.5-9 cm.) I positioned the trays in the bright test window in my house but the seedlings … (You can try transplanting the thinnings but why waste your time when lettuce seed is so cheap). Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to grow outside, … If you have ever tried planting vegetables, you will admit that your seedlings becoming leggy is a nemesis that is difficult to avoid.. Some plants will grow faster than others and as they’re removed, others grow up to take their place. Sow Lettuce seed ¼ to ½ inch deep. tall before thinning. Removed seedlings can be transplanted or eaten as delicious, tender microgreens. If this is the case, use clean kitchen shears to snip off the seedlings at ground level. Luckily, lettuce shouldn’t be planted too deeply. Thin seedlings as soon as the first true leaves appear and continue until the plants are 30cm (12in) apart. When to sow Lettuce seeds. Thinning. Sow Lettuce seeds 4 inches apart; later thin seedlings … The leaves are ready to be eaten when they are firm but not hard (lettuce becomes woody if harvested too late); older leaves should be harvested, even if not to eat, to stimulate the growth of new leaves. Leaves can be directly harvested using garden or kitchen shears. Here's and … Keep soil moist during the germination period. It also reduces competition between the plants for resources and improves air circulation. However, the seedlings won't be perfectly spaced. Leaf lettuce that is packed in too tightly without adequate air circulation can often taste bitter because each individual plant is competing for resources; it can also go to seed early (a process called bolting) which ruins the taste. Sow lettuce seed into beds very … In order to get the best-tasting yield, leaf lettuces should be properly thinned. Replant seeds in areas where plant spacing is too far (if applicable). In about 7-10 days, the seedlings will sprout. Allow the remaining seedlings to grow to maturity without disturbance. Works fine for me, and with that grow light, you'd probably be able to have lettuce … Use the plants that were thinned out to make a salad so they don’t have to go to waste. Depending on the season and the plan for the lettuce, plants can also be cut back completely or pulled up entirely. Head lettuce is usually grown from seeds started indoors during warm weather for a fall garden. Thinning lettuce plants is simple. Although, each variety will vary so be sure to check its seed … Whether you are planting tomatoes or lettuce, the seedlings always find a way to thin out and become reedy.. Leaf lettuce varieties can be grown closer together than head varieties but still need to be thinned out 4-6 inches apart. Sympathink: How to Grow Baby Oakleaf Lettuce, Gardener's World: How to Thin Salad Leaves. Two weeks after seeding a garden bed with lettuce you’ll have tons of little seedlings popping out of the ground. For indoor starts, sow a few Bibb lettuce seeds in each cell of a seed tray. Follow similar steps whether you are thinning romaine seedlings or another variety of lettuce. Romaine and butterhead lettuce seedlings require 6 to 8 inches between each plant. If growing outdoors, be sure to protect the lettuces from rabbits, squirrels and deer, who may consider your garden a buffet line. Since there’s no good way to preserve lettuce, most gardeners will plant a new row each week, ensuring they’ll have multiple harvests of lettuce to enjoy. The plants are ready for thinning when the second set of true leaves shows up. Moisten the medium in preparation for sowing the seeds. Tip #4: Starting Lettuce Seeds in a Garden. Water when the soil is dry; the best time to … Head lettuces grow as one plant; leaf lettuces grow as individual plants, and both are easy to grow. Baby lettuce mixes should be seeded thickly with about 30 plants per row foot. Do this for vegetables like beetroot, carrot, parsnip, … See the “How To Choose Which Seedlings To Thin” section above to figure out which seedlings to thin, and which ones to keep. Lettuce seeds are small, so it can be difficult to plant them at specific intervals. Lettuce grows best in sheltered areas with a few hours of direct sunlight. Raking will free up more space for remaining seedlings to grow and is much faster than plucking or cutting seedlings … Examine the seedlings to see which appear to be the healthiest and strongest, and thin the smaller plants around those when the soil is damp, says Gardener’s World. Use garden snips or a scissors to thin out crowded seedlings. Learn which variety of lettuce you are planting and know it’s growing needs. She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity (www.sweetfrivolity.com). To correct spacing once they reach a few Bibb lettuce seeds 4 inches apart crowded.! Clean kitchen shears to snip off … i started lettuce seedlings require 6 8. Order to get the best-tasting yield, leaf lettuces can how to thin lettuce seedlings for up to strong! 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