1. Replant seeds in areas where plant spacing is too far (if applicable). All plants need air circulation. (You can try transplanting the thinnings but why waste your time when lettuce seed is so cheap). Examine the seedlings to see which appear to be the healthiest and strongest, and thin the smaller plants around those when the soil is damp, says Gardener’s World. Baby lettuce mixes should be seeded thickly with about 30 plants per row foot. This can sometimes be discouraging, especially for anyone just starting the farming journey. Thin leaf lettuce seedlings to 4 inches apart. I planted them in a seed starting mix in flat trays by planting 3 or 4 seeds together in one hole. Then cover with hand sprinkled compost or soil and tamp. Lettuce seeds are small, so it can be difficult to plant them at specific intervals. I positioned the trays in the bright test window in my house but the seedlings … Thin by Rake (Optional) If you are growing vegetable seedlings in blocks rather than rows, you can run a flexible rake through the seedlings to thin them out. Second, floppy seedlings have a hard time growing up to be strong plants. The plants are ready for thinning when the second set of true leaves shows up. How to thin plants . I like to pull up the smaller seedlings that look less vigorous and leave the stronger looking plants. See the “How To Choose Which Seedlings To Thin” section above to figure out which seedlings to thin, and which ones to keep. If this is the case, use clean kitchen shears to snip off the seedlings at ground level. Garden lettuce comes in two distinct varieties: head lettuce and leaf lettuce (both Lactuca sativa), which generally grow best in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 10, according to Sympathink. A good way to 'thin' especially the fine, tiny plants that are bunched together, is to use needle-nose plyers..you can grab the base of the single plant you wish to remove, and pull it gently, up and away … Once harvested, leaf lettuces can keep for up to two weeks in a plastic storage bag. For indoor starts, sow a few Bibb lettuce seeds in each cell of a seed tray. Wait to thin … Prepare seed trays. Seedlings should have at least two pairs of true leaves and be about 3 to 4 inches (7.5-9 cm.) Learn which variety of lettuce you are planting and know it’s growing needs. Raking will free up more space for remaining seedlings to grow and is much faster than plucking or cutting seedlings … Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com), and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. Thin using a garden scissors to snip off … When I grow lettuce in a container, I just direct seed and thin to about 1 plant/square inch, then as they get bigger I cut them out and eat the young greens. Leaf lettuce that is packed in too tightly without adequate air circulation can often taste bitter because each individual plant is competing for resources; it can also go to seed early (a process called bolting) which ruins the taste. Nobody likes to thin seedlings. Thinning lettuce plants is simple. Leggy seedlings often happen with seeds started indoors and any type of vegetable, herb, or flower seedling can be affected. Plant out Lettuce seeds in early spring once the frosts have gone. Luckily, lettuce shouldn’t be planted too deeply. Evening hours are a good time to thin seedlings as the cooler temps and … Thin seedlings as soon as the first true leaves appear and continue until the plants are 30cm (12in) apart. Keep soil moist during the germination period. Thinning your plants gives them space to grow to larger leaves and dense hearts. Tomato, zucchini, broccoli, kale, lettuce, and beet seedlings tend to … Allow the remaining seedlings to grow to maturity without disturbance. Head lettuces grow as one plant; leaf lettuces grow as individual plants, and both are easy to grow. Lettuce grows best in sheltered areas with a few hours of direct sunlight. Do this for vegetables like beetroot, carrot, parsnip, … Cover very lightly with a fine starter soil. You can start your lettuce seeds in store-bought seed trays or make your own out of an old egg carton, box or newspaper.Fill the seed trays to within 1 ⁄ 2 inch (1.3 cm) of the top with a soilless growing medium. Some plants will grow faster than others and as they’re removed, others grow up to take their place. Lettuce prefers the cooler temperatures of spring and fall, but can be grown during the summer if given enough shade and water. When planting seed mixes (mesclun) we don’t worry too much about immediate thinning. Leaves can be directly harvested using garden or kitchen shears. The seedlings you thin out can be washed and eaten too. The leaves are ready to be eaten when they are firm but not hard (lettuce becomes woody if harvested too late); older leaves should be harvested, even if not to eat, to stimulate the growth of new leaves. Sympathink: How to Grow Baby Oakleaf Lettuce, Gardener's World: How to Thin Salad Leaves. Sow Lettuce seed ¼ to ½ inch deep. Since old lettuces will eventually bolt, making them bitter, don’t be afraid to harvest an entire plant before it passes its peak. … Head lettuce is usually grown from seeds started indoors during warm weather for a fall garden. She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity (www.sweetfrivolity.com). Here's and … Cut the seedlings at soil level to thin root vegetables. When to sow Lettuce seeds. Transplanting lettuce seedlings before they get leggy is a matter of timing; lettuce is a cool-weather plant and does best when outdoor temperatures are in the 60s and 70s. Third, seedlings … In order to get the best-tasting yield, leaf lettuces should be properly thinned. Aim to thin leaves … Leaf lettuces should be direct sown whenever possible, meaning that the seeds are planted where the plants will mature. It's fussy work, and always hard to decide which ones to save and which to toss. Tip #4: Starting Lettuce Seeds in a Garden. Transplant head lettuce … Leaf lettuces are usually ready to harvest within six to eight weeks from planting; check the seed packet to know when to expect harvest. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. However, the seedlings won't be perfectly spaced. If you have ever tried planting vegetables, you will admit that your seedlings becoming leggy is a nemesis that is difficult to avoid.. 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