Growing lettuce and greens are one of the best ways to cut down on food costs. If you can maximizing your growing space and grow these tasty plants, well it just makes sense. While the three videos below were not created by Organic Gardening Hints, they are really well done and we are not sure how we would improve on them …..
Growing at home versus growing at a large farm.
One very significant point, made in the second video, is that industrial farming methods will work in your garden. The fact is that you cannot that take large production methods and use them effectively in your backyard. Large scale farming is designed to work around large equipment your yard is not. The goal is to make lettuce available to you through out the growing season rather that just at the end. When you harvest at the end of the growing season you reduce the amount of lettuce you can harvest by a lot. Harvesting through out the season while growing lettuce can produce up to five times as much lettuce as opposed to harvesting a head of lettuce.
If you are looking to maximize your harvest than you will need to do things differently.
Getting the most out of you garden area
The planting method described below will allow for harvesting of lettuce leaves through out the growing season. Also the method can produce up to 5 times more lettuce than if you allow the plants to mature to a head.
Two huge advantages come from this. To us the most important is having fresh lettuce from a two to four weeks after the plant starts growing to when the plant starts to go to seed. Trust us this is the way to eat greens in a salad, cooked or blended into a smoothie, fresh greens are better than store bought. The second reason is that this method allows you grow more in a smaller area which frees up space for other vegetables or fruits in your garden.
Different spacing for growing lettuce
As illustrated in the video below the goal is to create separation between rows not between plants in the same row. I know this is does not make sense right? It went against what I learned when I was growing up, but we tried this last year and it worked really well. You plant the rows about 4 inches apart but the plants in the row about 1 inch apart.
Below is the video discussing how to grow in a high intensity way. This method results in a significant increase when growing lettuce as you will be able to harvest nearly 5 times more lettuce in the same space. The main trick to this is you have to grow the plants from seed in the bed. You cannot use seed starts you get the plants to grow this close together.
Harvesting through out the lettuce growing season.
So once again we used this method last year and worked incredibly well, we had lettuce when ever we wanted and I gave some away to family as well.
One this we do differently is that our raised bed is covered by a cloth cover that allowed our lettuce to grow longer as it did not get baked in the heat.
This is how to go about harvesting through out the lettuce growing season.