Welcome back to our Beginner Gardening Series. Over the next few weeks we’ll go through the process of making a 5’x7’ backyard vegetable garden, step-by-step. Now that the garden bed is ready, it’s time to get planting! We’ll show you how to plant seeds outdoors, specifically lettuce seeds.
If you’d like to jump to a previous week, here is what we’ve covered (and will be covering):
Planning Your Backyard Garden
Supplies to Get for Making a Small Backyard Garden
Preparing the Backyard Garden for Planting
Planting Vegetable (Pepper) Seeds Indoors
Weeks 1-3: How to Plant Lettuce Seeds Outdoors (we are here)
Weeks 1-3: Planting Cold Crop Bulbs
Weeks 2-4: Planting Beets and Herb Seeds Outdoors (coming soon)
Garden Maintenance (coming soon)
Weeks 6-8: Planting Seedlings to the Garden (coming soon)
Troubleshooting (coming soon)
First Harvest! (coming soon)
This is the garden layout we are working towards. You can see that the onions and lettuce are planted in rows along one side of the garden.
And be sure to join our Facebook group where we’re we’ll be answering each others’ questions, sharing our gardens as they grow and troubleshooting along the way.
Certain types of vegetables can be planted directly into the garden as early as mid to end of April. Lettuce, onion and garlic are considered cold crops, preferring the cooler temperatures for growing.
These plants are hearty and able to withstand the colder temperatures that we still have in early Spring. Moreover, planting these vegetables earlier means harvesting them earlier as well. Being able to make this first harvest easy spring mix salad recipe in early May is delightful!
If you’re planning to grow lettuce and have your seeds on hand, you are ready to start planting outdoors! But don’t worry if you’re behind, the growing window is long. You can also wait until June to plant the lettuce seedlings instead.
If you have other seeds, such as peppers and tomatoes, it’s the perfect time to plant these seeds indoors. And if you have onion and/or garlic bulbs on hand, you can plant these outdoors now as well!
If you’d like to keep track of what and when you planted, download our pretty vegetable garden journalling pages.
How to Plant Lettuce Seeds Outdoors
If you have a variety of lettuce seeds such as red leaf, green leaf and iceberg, you can mix them altogether for planting or keep them separated in your garden.
In our case, we used lettuce seeds from last year’s dried unharvested crop. Taking the dried lettuce plant in hand, we broke apart the pods to release the small seeds inside until we had enough for planting.
Using a hoe, turn the soil in the area you plan to place your lettuce seeds.
Gather the seeds in one hand and sprinkle them over top of the turned soil.
Gently rake the soil just covering the lettuce seeds.
If the soil is already moist, leave the seeds and soil for a few days without watering. In a couple of days, lightly water the seeds with a gentle misting if possible. If the soil appears dry, you can water the planted seeds right away. Continue to water every other day to keep the soil moist but not soaked.
Within two weeks, you will start to see seedlings popping out of the soil.
After about 5 weeks the lettuce wil be ready to start harvesting. Cut the lettuce leaf close to the soil leaving the lettuce roots in the ground. Leave some lettuce to continue growing to harvest later.
Got a Critter Problem?
If critters are a problem in your area, consider putting chicken wire two feet high around the garden as we’ve done here. Staple the wire to wooden posts in all four corners to secure in place.
In the coming weeks, we’ll discuss planting beets and herb seeds outdoors. We’d love to see how your garden is coming along! Share a picture of your prepared garden in the Happy Homecooks and Gardeners Facebook Group for feedback and more ideas.
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