Lettuce, Red Leaf
Red Leaf Lettuce
Red leaf lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is a cool-season vegetable that grows best when temperatures are between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. It is grown in early spring and fall in most parts of the U.S. without protection, as is can tolerate a light frost. Red leaf lettuce has a rich color and loose, leafy appearance, unlike the tight cabbage-like structure of the popular Red Leaf lettuce commonly seen in retail markets. Red leaf lettuce is rich in vitamins A, B, C, E and K, as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorous and zinc. mix. Easiest to grow. The leaves of the heads do not close tightly but form an open rosette. You can pick as needed for salads without harvesting the whole plant. Space about 8 inches apart for full-sized heads, or sow thickly for clipping small, young leaves.
Planting Red Leaf Lettuce
While starting seeds of the Red Leaf Lettuce is not necessarily difficult, the right conditions will make the process successful. Sow Red Leaf Lettuce seeds directly in the ground in the spring when the threat of frost has passed or start in containers several weeks before transplanting into soil. Keep the ground moist but not wet for the first couple of weeks. Pick a sunny, well-drained spot for planting for the best performance. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position. Heirloom / Open Pollinated Red Leaf Lettuce are cool weather loving plants that prefer well drained loose soil and an even amount of water. Plant heirloom Red Leaf Lettuce in rows or hills but make sure the soil is well warmed. In cooler climates, you can start Lettuce seeds indoors 2-4 wks. before last frost to extend the growing season. Plant seeds ½ - 1" deep. Plant seeds or set out heirloom Red Leaf Lettuce transplants in full sun. For rows plant 6-12" apart, in rows 6-10' apart. For hills plant 4-6 seeds per hill, in 1' diameter hills, with hills 6-10' apart. Germination should occur in 5-10 days in soil 70-85°F. Height: 6 inch balls Spacing: 6-8" inches, 12 inches between rows Depth: 1/4 inch Germination: 5-10 days
Starting from Seed Indoors
Generally, the time to start your seeds is about 6-8 weeks before the last expected spring frost date in your area, planting the seedlings outdoors about 2 weeks after that date. Another way to figure is to plan on setting out sturdy seedlings in the garden when night temperatures stay in the mid-50 degree range both day and night. Count back and sow seeds 6 to 8 weeks before that date normally arrives. Place a few seeds (5 to 10) into each pot and push them into the soil with your finger. Cover the seeds to a depth of approximately 1/2 inches of the potting mix. Mist each pot with water until the soil appears moist. Place the pots in an area which will provide both light (which is required for germination) and heat, preferably about 65 to 70 degrees F and at least 8 hours of light each day. Check on the seeds every day and keep the seeds damp but not drenched by misting with your plant mister. You should see sprouting in about 5 to 10 days. Once your seedlings have reached about 4 to 6 inches in height, choose an area in your garden to transfer them. You can also use containers like barrels or clay pots. Dig holes twice the width and depth of each of your pots. Fill up each hole with water then let it drain off. Place a pot in the hole center and level so that your seedling is at the same level as the surrounding soil. Push dirt in carefully all the way to fill the hole back up. Water each seedling carefully so as not to soak the leaves or stem.
Direct-seeding into the Garden
Turn over the area you've selected to a depth of approximately 1/2 inches. Rake the area until it's level and smooth. Water the area until the soil is damp but not saturated. Scatter the seeds in the area. Gently rake the area to distribute the seeds further and protect them from birds. Or, press the seeds into the soil and cover with no more than 1/4 inches of soil. You can also place 2 to 3 seeds every 6 to 8 inches in rows approximately 8-12 inches apart, and cover seeds with 1/4 inches of soil. Place planting stakes around the area so you will know where to water. Check on your seeds about once a day. Make sure to mist the soil whenever it appears dry. Germination for the Lettuce plants is approximately 5 to 10 days, depending on the warmth of the soil.
Growing plants from seeds successfully depends on a lot of factors and this makes it impossible to guarantee success on every batch of seeds planted. Factors include, soil composition, PH, temperature, moisture levels, seed depth, soil density, seed viability, seed storage and many others. We tested the germination of all our seeds and this seed variety is around 80%, but your results may vary based on exactly how you plant and all the environmental factors. Good luck.