A backyard vegetable garden provides fresh produce in summer months, but when you grow vegetables indoors, you reap year-long benefits despite changes in seasons. Lettuce, a cool-weather crop, is fairly easy to grow indoors. Place the container in or near your kitchen so you can access mature lettuce easily. Provide the plants ample sunlight and a cool, shaded spot.
Things You'll Need
- Clamshell container
- Sharp knife
- Well-draining potting mix
- Spray bottle
- Gloves or tweezers
- Dish-washing soap
- Fluorescent lighting (optional)
Scrub a transparent clamshell container with soapy water, rinse, and allow it to dry. Use a sharp, pointed knife to cut eight to 10 half-inch drainage slits through the container base. Clear, clamshell boxes with lids that contain gourmet salads and greens provide ample space for lettuce plants to expand.
Spread a 2-inch layer of moist, well-draining, porous, lightweight potting mix over the base of the container. Tap the box to level the mix.
Scatter 25 to 30 lettuce seeds over the soil, working toward an even distribution, and sprinkle a thin layer of potting mix on top to cover the seeds lightly.
Mist the potting mix with a spray bottle until the soil is evenly moist. Close the lid of the container and place it in a warm spot exposed to bright light. Avoid windows or doorways if the climate in your area is very cold. Supplement natural lighting with a fluorescent light suspended 6 to 8 inches above the container and kept on for 12 to 14 hours every day.
Open the lid of the container when seeds sprout, which usually occurs in four to five days. Cut the lid off the container with scissors and place it under the container to serve as a watering tray.
Fill the lid with water every day so the soil remains evenly moist at all times. Avoid overhead watering, which increases chances of fungal diseases.
Pick any insect pests from the lettuce using a gloved hand or tweezers, and spray a homemade deterrent solution of 2 to 3 tbsp. dish soap and 1 gallon of water.
Harvest fresh lettuce three to four weeks after planting. Pinch off or clip outer leaves from the plant at the crown. Do not pull the crown or roots out of the soil so the plant grows more leaves you can harvest in another two weeks.
Tips & Warnings
- Place the containers in a spot with temperature between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
How to Grow Hydroponic Lettuce
People sometimes view hydroponics as complicated and expensive, but the truth is that it doesn’t have to be either one. It’s possible...