As easy as salads are to cultivate, they simply belong in our flower beds, and their health benefits are added. There are certainly varieties of lettuce that can be sown already in the cooler months (some with frost protection), but then the germination period will be significantly slowed down. Once you have decided on the lettuce, the better option is to prefer it indoors in the warm, and you can even start this as early as January. Which varieties are best suited, how to grow lettuce indoors in winter and when it can be grown outdoors, we have summarized below.
Table of contents
- Garden lettuces – perfect for mixed crops!
- Which varieties are best suited?
- Growing lettuce in winter – How to proceed with the cultivation.
- Growing lettuce indoors in winter – Can they stay indoors?
- Tips for consistent harvesting throughout the season
Garden lettuces – perfect for mixed crops!
As mentioned earlier, there are definitely situations where lettuce can be sown directly into the bed if you want to grow lettuce in the winter. However, this depends not only on the variety (for example, winter purslane and lamb’s lettuce), that is, how frost-hardy it is, but also on the annual weather conditions and those of the region where you live. So to be on the safe side, it’s best to do it indoors and advance the plantlets. This will give your lettuces up to a 4-week head start, which of course means an earlier first harvest.
Another plus to growing lettuce indoors in the winter is that you’ll bypass slug season in the garden and your plantlets will be perfectly protected.
Growing lettuce in winter – when to grow lettuce in advance?
If you want to grow lettuce in winter, it is best to start preplanting in late January or early February at the latest, so that you can transplant sufficiently vigorous lettuce plants into the beds at exactly the right time. In addition to the lettuce sown indoors, from March you can also sow the next batch already in the beds, where you will still need to protect them from frost with glass or fleece.
What varieties are best suited?
Head lettuces and plucking lettuces are best suited for this time, as they require cool temperatures and thus benefit from the still low temperatures in early spring after cultivation. The subsequent heat is less optimal, as this causes the lettuces to “shoot”: they achieve rapid flowering, which also makes the leaves bitter.
So, after sowing these varieties first from January/February, you can continue from May with summer lettuces, where shooting is not a threat.
Growing lettuce in winter – here’s how to go about growing it.
You will need:
- Growing pots (seed trays or multi-pot pallets are also suitable).
- Growing soil
- Lettuce seeds
How to sow lettuce
- Fill the selected containers with the soil.
- For lettuce, add two seeds per pot/segment. Sow cut lettuces as well as pluck lettuces more widely and thin them out later.
- Press the seeds only lightly into the soil (0.5 to 1 inch deep). Lettuce seeds are light germinators and should therefore only be lightly covered with soil.
- Moisten the soil. Do not water, as this will wash the seeds away. Instead, use a spray bottle.
Then place the containers a warm place (10 to 15 degrees and in no case above 20 degrees) and keep the soil evenly moist so that the seeds can germinate quickly. Usually this takes between a week and a week and a half under these conditions.
Grow lettuce indoors in winter – can they stay indoors?
If you grow lettuce indoors in the winter, you can certainly keep it inside (or part of it). After all, already a few weeks after germination, the lettuces form enough young leaves, which you can then harvest and enjoy as baby lettuce. The stem will continue to stay in the ground and keep producing new leaves. In addition to baby lettuces are also suitable for the windowsill:
- Leeks (let them root in water and then replant).
- Celery (root in water and then replant)
- Arugula (rocket)
- Romana hearts (allow to root in water and then replant).
Tips for harvesting consistently throughout the season
To ensure that you can harvest lettuce leaves uninterrupted, you can also reseed at regular intervals (one of the many benefits of lettuces). Broadly speaking, this means about every two weeks. You can also simply go by the leaves: after germination, the plant first gets so-called cotyledons, and only then the first true pair of leaves. Between germination and this pair of leaves is the perfect period to reseed.
As a rule, you can harvest regularly from March or April at the latest, if you grow lettuce in winter.
What you should cut back in January, you can learn here .