Urban Gardening: Growing Lettuce & Salad Leaves in Containers

, written by Benedict Vanheems gb flag

Mixed lettuce leaves in a container

Cut-and-come-again salad greens are salads that can be harvested repeatedly to give multiple pickings. They’re quick to grow, don’t take up much room and, crucially, they’re delicious. Here’s how to grow them.

Growing Equipment

To grow cut-and-come-again salad greens you will need good-quality potting soil, some seeds and, of course, a container with drainage holes.

Suitable salad greens for cut-and-come-again treatment include any of the looseleaf or mesclun blends, which might contain salads such as lettuce, endive, and rocket.

Sow Your Salads

Fill your container with potting soil up to an inch, or two centimetres below the rim. Tamp down to leave a level surface. Now take a pinch of seeds and sprinkle them thinly and evenly over the surface of the compost.

Cover the seeds over with a fine layer of potting soil, gently tamp down to firm the seeds in, then water carefully using a watering can fitted with a fine rose to avoid washing the seeds back out.

Lettuce seedlings in a container

Caring For Your Seedlings

Move the container into a bright space or, if you’re gardening in a hot climate, a cool and shady corner. Check daily and water as necessary to maintain good, evenly moist conditions. Seedlings usually take five to ten days to germinate.

Once the seedlings appear you will probably need to thin them out a little. Remove some of the seedlings so that those remaining are spaced a minimum of an inch (2.5cm) apart.

Cut salad leaves

How to Harvest Cut-and-Come-Again Leaves

The leaves are ready to cut about four to six weeks after sowing. Harvest little and often by using a sharp knife or scissors to cut away the largest leaves every few days. This will stimulate replacements.

There’s nothing better than a regular cut of home-grown leaves. Try it for yourself and eat fresh!

Bugs, Beneficial Insects and Plant Diseases

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"Thank you your great tips on gardening, I have enjoyed them and can't wait to some of them ?? "
Susan on Saturday 12 March 2016

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