The edible plant - the lettuce
There's nothing better than harvesting and consuming your own plants. But growing vegetables in the capital, is that even possible? But of course it works! Urban gardening is no longer just a trend, it's a real hobby.
Nothing tastes better than home-grown fruit and vegetables. That's why we thought we'd help you to create your own little urban garden in Berlin. A very easy start is definitely planting lettuce. We will show you with our expert knowledge how it works.
The story of the lettuce
In contrast to lettuce, pick or cut lettuce (Lactuca sativa) does not develop a loose head, but rather loose leaf rosettes. Depending on the variety, the lettuce can be light green to red-brown in color and appear jagged, smooth-edged, wavy or resembling oak leaves. The best-known varieties in Germany are: the red oak leaf lettuce, the lollo rosso or the lollo bionda pickle lettuce
When should you sow your lettuce?
Since planting lettuce is similar to planting lettuce, it can be sown in cold frames or in the home as early as the end of February. If you want to sow your lettuce directly outdoors, you can do so in early April.
The right place to plant lettuce
The ideal location for planting lettuce is a sunny to partially shaded spot. If you want to sow your lettuce directly outdoors, you should have a planting distance of 25-30cm. If the plants are a bit bigger, you can always separate plants that are too dense.
You succeed in growing the lettuce
Step 1: Planting lettuce is easy with seeds. For this purpose, the seeds are placed on fine potting soil from mid-March and kept moist at all times. Lettuce doesn't tolerate frost, so it's better to wait for the Ice Saints.
Tip: You can use empty yoghurt pots or empty toilet paper rolls as growing pots. It is important that excess water can run off so that there is no waterlogging.
Step 2: Most lettuce needs light to germinate. Therefore, you should not put them in the ground, just cover them very lightly with sand. The sand lets in enough light and helps the seeds stay nice and moist.
Step 3: After about 10-14 days, the first individual leaves will appear.
Urban gardening: plant lettuce on the balcony
Lead lettuce is ideal for growing on the balcony. You can always pick as much as you need and new lettuce will constantly grow back. You can even plant your pick-lettuce on a small balcony. Even with a tub of 30cm diameter a sufficient amount of lettuce can be produced.
If you plant your lettuce on the balcony, a planting distance of 5-10cm is sufficient. So you have enough space for several plants in your bucket.
A sunny, south-facing balcony is best, but your lettuce will also grow well in semi-shade. However, you should avoid excessive heat, some varieties do not tolerate it.
When planting lettuce on the balcony, it is important that you use vegetable soil and vegetable fertilizer, preferably organic. If you use normal potting soil, it can contain pollutants such as heavy metals.
Pluck lettuce is very susceptible to snails. The balcony is particularly good again. If the lettuce is in the balcony boxes, the snails usually have no chance of getting into them.
Proper care when planting lettuce
You should keep this in mind when watering
Watering is particularly important when planting lettuce. Pay attention to even watering. The soil should always be slightly moist, but excess water must be able to drain.
Tip: Mulch binds soil moisture, preventing your lettuce from drying out quickly.
Do you have to fertilize after the lettuce plants?
Fertilizing is usually not necessary when planting lettuce. If so, then only sparingly and before sowing or planting. Organic fertilizer is always best, as it is free of chemical additives.
Do you have to prick lettuce?
No, you don't have to prick your lettuce, but you can. But it is not necessary.
What is the best way to harvest lettuce?
After about 4-6 weeks after sowing, you can harvest the first leaves of the lettuce (or the lettuce). If you only ever cut off the outer leaves, the lettuce can continue to grow and new young leaves can develop. After a few weeks, the plants tend to wilt.
That means they grow extremely long. If so, then it's time to cut off the lettuce completely.
Tip: If you plant new flower boxes every 4-6 weeks, you can harvest lettuce all summer long.
Pick lettuce is incredibly nutritious and very easy to grow. It is particularly suitable for the balcony, as it does not take up much space and is very easy to care for. Not even the snails are a thorn in your side if you plant it on the balcony. With the right location, you'll have crispy fresh lettuce all summer long.
We at botanicly offer an urban gardening project for schools. Here the students learn practically how to grow vegetables and take responsibility together.
Are you interested in indoor plants and secretly dreaming of your own urban jungle for the apartment? Then have a look around our shop. With the plant match, you can easily find the perfect plant for your 4 walls..