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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How to grow lettuce in a colander

By Kerry Michaels,

Lettuce is a Great Container Gardening Vegetable

I love growing lettuce. It's fast, easy and is the perfect container gardening vegetable. An advantage of growing lettuce in container gardens is that it easier to protect container gardens from pests. I've had too many lettuce plants devoured before I get a chance to. Now put my lettuce container gardens up on tables or chairs to protect them from the woodchucks, squirrels and bunnies that love to feast on lettuce.

You can grow lettuce in almost any container, as long as it has good drainage. Your container can be fairly shallow, because lettuce doesn't have long roots. I love growing lettuce in colanders. You can get a giant one at a restaurant supply company. Smaller sizes are easily found at discount stores, yard sales or second hand stores - this one cost 50 cents at a yard sale.

You do have to be careful with any metal container, in the blistering hot sun because they can get hot and cook your plants root system. Lettuce generally doesn't like blistering hot sun anyway, so keep your lettuce container gardens shaded in the heat of the day.

Here's what you need to make a lettuce container garden in a colander:



Potting soil

Plastic window screening


Lettuce seed or seedlings

1. Cut a piece of window screening to fit your colander. This will keep your soil in and let water out.

2. Fill colander almost to the top with potting soil.

3. If you’re potting soil doesn't already have fertilizer in it, mix fertilizer into your potting soil, following the directions on the package for quantity. I use an organic slow release fertilizer.

4. Plant your lettuce seeds or seedlings. Lettuce grows quickly so if you are planting seedlings, give them room to grow. If you are planting seeds, make sure not to plant them too deeply. I often use special seed starting medium to cover the seeds as it makes it easier for them to break through, as they grow.

5. Water generously. Lettuce needs lots of water. It is considered a cool season crop, but certain kinds tolerate heat better than others.

6. I like growing loose-leaf lettuces and lettuce green mixes, because you can continue to pick the outside leaves over long periods. With head lettuces, you generally wait until the head if formed and pick the whole thing.

Great lettuces to try in container gardens:

Black Seeded Simpson (heat tolerant)

Simpson Elite (heat tolerant)

Tropicana (heat tolerant)

Elegance Seed Mix, from Johnny's Seeds

Mesclun mixes

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