By Pat Cook, Master Gardener, SCMG
Do you grow lettuce indoors in the winter? Its easy and there’s nothing like fresh picked salad greens from your indoor mini-garden!
5 steps to success:
Grow lights are recommended for growing lettuce, arugula, spinach or microgreens indoors. Putting seedlings on a windowsill will result in long, leggy growth because there just isn’t enough natural sunlight during the winter months. Generally a grow light should be on for about 14-16 hours and off for at least 8 hours of darkness.
Containers – Plastic food containers are perfect! Just make sure you put holes in the bottom for drainage. Fill with a quality planting mix that is made for container gardening. Look for varieties of lettuce such as Black Seeded Simpson, Tango leaf, Asian Greens, Salad Mix and Mesclun. Baby spinach and arugula are also popular to grow indoors.
Water the most important thing about planting lettuce indoors is that the plants always need to be moist. The plants have much less room than normal when growing in trays, so its vital to keep them well watered and provide sufficient nutrients.
Fertilize – Lettuce seedlings are delicate and require attention when grown indoors. Seedlings should look green and robust. Once the tiny plants have their first set of true leaves feed with a liquid organic fertilizer.
Harvest – in about 4-5 weeks baby lettuce should be around 4” tall and ready to harvest.