Tips for Tending to Lettuce
Lettuce is one of the fastest growing indoor crops you can grow, and it's a staple. Who doesn't love to be healthy with delicious home-grown lettuce, or add a fresh leaf of romaine on their sandwich, or a salad of tasty arugula? And with AeroGarden, you can enjoy delicious Spring greens all throughout fall and winter! Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your salad greens grown in your AeroGarden.
-- Keep lights low. Lettuce thrives on lots of light, like the light provided automatically in your AeroGarden. The more light, the bigger the leaves get, and the more lettuce starts to form the big heads we’re familiar with in stores (lettuce grown indoors under artificial lights rarely demonstrates this “heading” growth habit). When you prune, prune evenly, with the goal of never raising your AeroGarden light hood. But don’t let your lettuce brown up in the lights either. Harvest and eat it before you get there!
-- Position Grow Lights 4 – 6” above your plants. We have found that with our new LED lights, plants grow much more quickly! While this is great for most plants, lettuce can ‘bolt’ and can taste bitter if they grow too tall too fast. We recommend keeping the grow lights at least 4 – 6” above the plants as they grow. When they are fully grown, it may be necessary to harvest the tops of the plants regularly to keep them well below the lights. Enjoy a fresh salad with the trimmings!
-- More light. In keeping with the light theme, if lower lights are good, more lights is better. You’ll get bigger yields in an AeroGarden when you grow in one of our high watt large-capacity gardens, like the Bounty or Farm.
-- “Toughen-up” your lettuce. Lettuce grown indoors is surprisingly tender. Many people love this. Some people miss that extra crunch. The lettuce is tender because it is grown in the “spa-like” conditions of an indoor garden, with no sun, wind or bugs to toughen it up. An easy way to put more bite in your lettuce is to aim a small fan at the lettuce while it is growing. The constant movement on the plants requires them to create tougher leaves to stand up to the wind. Many people find this helps create the texture they are looking for. And it helps with our next point.
-- Keep it cool. Lettuce is a cool-weather crop. It thrives in temperatures from 55-70 degrees. Above that, it can tend to bolt because it thinks it is summer and time to go to seed. For best production, keep your lettuce in the coolest spot in your home – you’ll have trouble finding a spot so cool it isn’t happy! While you might think that a sunny window is helping your harvest, the heat generated could be doing more harm than good. A fan helps here too.
-- Variety matters. AeroGarden varieties have been thoroughly tested for fast germination and good growth in indoor gardening conditions. Our Salad Greens seed pod kit is literally ready for a first harvest at just 3 weeks. When choosing your own variety, you may need to do a little experimenting to find varieties that grow well in your environment. But that’s part of the fun, especially when the experiments taste so good!
If your lettuce is looking too good not to eat, check out our article on harvesting those leafy greens and start enjoying!