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Fresh, chilled, crispy salads are a delight. Varied in shape and leaf and color, these annual fast-growing vegetables are mostly used fresh. In almost any garden there is a place for a head of lettuce. It is very unpretentious and grows in almost any soil. It will take quite a bit of knowledge to harvest crops throughout the summer season. It is better to plant several different types of salad, and then there will be a wide selection of this vegetable with very different leaves in shape and color. Today we will also tell you what sort of culture there are and how they should be grown.
The best varieties of leaf lettuce
The round-headed lettuce itself is round, like a cabbage, with widely spread smooth leaves, is a representative of varieties of head-lettuce. It grows very quickly and does not require special care.
Crispy salad forms a large head of rolled leaves, crunchy on the palate. Especially popular is the Iceberg variety with thick fleshy leaves.
Many people wonder how to grow Romaine lettuce - all its elongated oblong and crisp leaves grow vertically upward. it ripens longer than other species and requires plentiful watering.
A kucheravets forms many leaves without a core. You can simply tear off a few leaves, leaving a whole bush for further growth. It has beautiful curly leaves that appear throughout the summer.
Growing arugula and watercress, corn salad, frillis and lettuce is also very popular among gardeners.
The iceberg in its appearance resembles white cabbage; it has juicy, crisp, greenish-whitish leaves, which are collected in a large head of cabbage. The mass of one head can reach 1 kilogram, as well as more. Features of cultivation, as well as storage and use in cooking are exactly the same as for other types of culture.
To get the crop all season, it is necessary to produce the first plantings with an interval of two weeks (during the first 3 plantings), summer plantings (crops) should be made with a reduced interval of 1 week, the last two with an interval of two weeks, as at the beginning season.
For growing lettuce in the open ground, well-fertilized soils with drainage, which contains the necessary mineral additives, are best suited. The soil should not be too acidic. It is necessary to constantly maintain its humidity. It is recommended to plant the crop on the sunny side where there are no drafts.
For spring planting, carefully dig the land in the fall, adding well-rotted compost or fertilizer. Before planting, loosen the soil well and add mineral fertilizers.
Planting leaf lettuce
We recommend reading our article on how to grow lettuce in a greenhouse. In this section, we will tell you about the technology and methods of growing crops.
You can grow it yourself or buy seedlings on the market.
Transplant seedlings into pre-prepared pits. Try not to break the roots. The pits should be deep enough so that the root fits completely. Hold the seedlings by the stem at the base, not the leaves. Immediately after planting, water the plants abundantly.
Sowing seeds under glass
Seeds are sown in small cups filled with compost, two seeds each and watered abundantly. Put the glasses in the greenhouse.
When the seeds sprout, remove the weaker plant. Ventilate the greenhouse daily or leave it open for several hours a day so that the plants gradually get used to the environment. When the plants grow, so that they can be transplanted, plant them in the ground.
Sowing seeds in the ground
When sowing seeds in open ground, prepare pits with a diameter of 5 mm. Sow the seeds at different times, so as to get a crop from early spring to mid-summer. Seedlings sprouted at a distance of 7.5 cm from each other. Thin out the salad periodically. Water the plants regularly, weed and loosen the soil.
Placing a plant in the garden
There are 2 ways to grow leaf lettuce, which allow you to economically use the area of the garden.
In the first method, when the salad is placed on separate beds, the maximum yield is ensured in the shortest possible time. For example, you can sow seeds of the Romain variety at a distance of 2.5 cm from each other in rows at a distance of 10 cm. Sowing is recommended to start from mid-spring and every two weeks until the end of spring. Do not thin out the plants - the method involves growing a large number of densely growing lettuce. Leaves are cut 4-6 weeks after sowing. Leave the roots and stem to get another crop after 5-6 weeks.
A joint method is suitable for a small garden, in this case the salad is placed between previously planted vegetables or herbs, which grow slower than it. For example, you can plant a salad between parsnips or carrots. By the time they rise, the salad will be already large. A lettuce salad can be a tomato thickener. In this case, it is planted after tomato seedlings in 2 rows along the edge of the beds in a checkerboard pattern. Looks great culture between roses or other flowers in the garden, especially varieties with red leaves.
Growing lettuce at home
Cultivation is possible at home, so to speak, on the windowsill and, most interestingly, this is nothing complicated. People who grow lettuce at home willingly share their experience, which can be used freely and absolutely free for us.
So, how to grow a salad at home? For this, the culture needs to create special conditions, and only then the plant will please the greenery and unique taste.
First of all, you need to prepare the right place for growing lettuce, that is, a container. It may be a rectangular box, but remember that the box should not be too modest so that the soil in it does not dry out very quickly. The best option is to plant lettuce in small boxes, say, 60x60 cm or 60x80 cm, the depth of which should be about 10-12 cm.
Next, you need to choose the right soil, otherwise, nothing good will come of it. Experts advise choosing the following composition - humus, turfy earth and sand, in a proportion of 2-2-1. Also, you can always purchase specially prepared land in wildlife stores, unless, of course, you have the opportunity to obtain and mix it yourself. Now, this composition must be tamped in the boxes ready for planting and slightly poured with warm water with potassium permanganate, a very light solution. After that, make grooves for planting lettuce with a depth of 1-1.5 cm and a distance between them of about 10-12 cm. Now you can sow a salad, but you should not do it too fanatically, observe some distance between the seeds, since only in this the case will appear good and strong shoots. After sowing, additional irrigation using warm water is necessary.
Before the first shoots appear, the boxes with seeds should be in a dark place, but after they appear on the surface, the boxes should migrate to a bright place. During seedlings, do not forget to spray the soil from a regular sprayer with warm water, this will speed up the process.
Further, only proper care, which is considered the simplest. You do not need to spend a lot of time choosing fertilizers and loosening, you just have to water the salad often, and then it will grow quickly. Watering should be done every 1-2 days, preferably early in the morning or after sunset, so as not to burn or spoil the leaves.
It will be possible to remove the first crop in 20-25 days, which is pretty fast, which means that during the first seedlings, you can already sow the next box to ensure uninterrupted production.
Growing a salad on hydroponics is, of course, much more difficult than growing on a windowsill at home, but the result is much more significant. That is, this method is no longer suitable for home production of a product, but for an industrial one. Of course, you can arrange a greenhouse or a special room, equip it with expensive equipment and put the seeds in a special composition, but such expenses will be unjustified, since in order to get a relatively inexpensive salad of independent production, it must be collected in very large volumes.
First of all, you need to choose good seeds for planting, obtained from a selected salad and properly prepared for sowing. You can’t rush here, otherwise you can not guess a little and get into the resting period of the seeds.
Seeds that have matured their time and underwent special training are best planted at temperatures below + 20 ° C. But, if lettuce seeds were prepared specifically for hydroponics, the best time for planting them will be a hotter time, because such seeds have already expanded temperature boundaries, which means germination is possible in more ambiguous conditions. Lettuce seeds should be planted immediately after opening the package so that they do not dry out or, conversely, do not accumulate moisture. After sowing, the seeds should be covered only with a special film that transmits light, otherwise it will take a very long time to germinate.
Now you should take care of proper nutrition, which should come already in the period of disclosure of the first leaves. So, the concentration of the solution should be relatively low so that the plants develop faster, but the composition of the solution should be the same as for an adult salad, which is already being cut.
The concentration of elements in the solution can be very diverse, depending on the requirements, conditions, variety of lettuce, and so on, but, most often, experts advise mixture No. 19, with an iron content. The concentration of elements: N - 200 mg / l, Mg - 50 mg / l, Ca - 200 mg / l, P -80 mg / l, K - 200 mg / l.
Humidity should be kept at 60-80%, and the temperature should not exceed + 16 + 18 ° C. Otherwise, if the temperature rises, lettuce leaves become less juicy and bitter, and the plants themselves throw out flower stalks, which greatly spoils the yield.
Naturally, the temperature and humidity regimes are significantly different if you consider the cultivation from “a” to “z”, starting with the content of seeds, a germination chamber, seedling tables and tables for growing lettuce on a slice. But, again, it all depends on various factors and varieties of the cultivated culture.
In addition to all that has been said, not only temperature and humidity should be regulated, but also the intake of CO2, the shade of plants, the temperature of the nutrient solution, the purity of the air in the room, and so on. All such nuances indicate only that it is possible to grow a salad in hydroponics, and it is very simple, but only for specialists and in large volumes.
Of course, there is always the opportunity to make a hydroponic growing table on your own, mix the nutrient solution, install several lamps above the salad and even try to control the room temperature, but we are almost sure that hydroponics and home conditions are incompatible, at least if you work for good harvest and lowering its value.
Growing lettuce hydroponically (video)
You can grow lettuce in the fall or winter in greenhouses. Of course, you have to make a little more effort. pick up specially bred varieties. To get the crop from early summer to autumn, start sowing the salad from mid-spring and continue sowing at intervals of two weeks until mid-summer. Then a stable crop is provided from the beginning of summer to mid-autumn.
For autumn harvests, pick frost-resistant varieties. Land them in the open ground no later than the first week of August. In early autumn, when the plants are strong, transplant them into a greenhouse.
If you do not transplant the plants into a greenhouse, then you should thin them and cover them with caps in early autumn. While the street is sunny and warm, caps are removed, and closed at night. The salad will yield in late autumn.
When the salad is grown in greenhouses, the seeds are sown in the beginning - mid-autumn, and the crop is harvested in winter until spring.
To obtain high yields, plants need timely loosening of the soil, destruction of weeds and watering. In a period of drought without watering, the salad does not tie heads, its leaves become coarse, bitter, and a flower stalk is thrown. On, not thinned out crops in time, heads cannot form, plants bloom early.
A head of lettuce is eaten when a dense core has formed. To determine the degree of readiness, press the core with a finger. If it is dense - you can collect. Harvest early in the morning, cutting off with a knife or pulling with the root. Send unnecessary leaves to compost for decay.
Be careful - the leaves break easily. During drought, the salad throws long fragile flower stems, they are bitter and are not eaten. In order not to break the plants, try not to touch them when leaving. Do not plant many plants in the same place so that you do not have to thin out them very often. Send all broken plants immediately to compost.
Pests and diseases
The salad is affected by many insects - pests and diseases. However, if the soil is properly prepared, weeding and watering in the right dosage are carried out in a timely manner, then problems are unlikely to arise. We recommend that you learn how to use spanbond on the beds.