Growing lettuce at home is a great way to eat healthy. And eating healthy nowadays can be difficult. Apart from so many delicious, unhealthy food being readily available at your fingertips, eating healthy can be so expensive. A small salad in a fast-food joint can literally cost as much as 2 burgers at any given time. Wintertime is even worse, as the prices of fruits and vegetables are often higher during this.
One life hack to eating healthy without breaking the bank is preparing your own food. And, ideally, growing your own food. For gardening and cooking newbies, the best plant to start with is lettuce. It’s a simple plant to grow, and you can grow most varieties year-round. You can create so many sumptuous salads with lettuce.
The best part about growing lettuce at home is that it grows indoors well and doesn’t need much space. A 12-inch-wide pot with holes for drainage will suffice. No matter how small your living area is, you can surely find the space to grow lettuce.
Growing Lettuce at Home
Growing lettuce indoors is easy. In fact, lettuce can be a better fit indoors than it is outdoors, as it prefers cooler, stable temperatures. However, lettuce needs sunlight to thrive and needs several hours a day of access to it.
There are several ways to grow lettuce. You can grow it in water or from a lettuce core. But let’s discuss the easiest one – growing lettuce indoors by putting lettuce seeds in a pot. Lettuce is best grown in shallow, holed pots that are about 12 inches in diameter. It needs soil with a lot of organic matter, like compost, and needs to be in a cool area. About 60 – 70 °F is ideal.
Lettuce Growing Basics
Lettuce seeds won’t grow long roots and should be planted ¼ of an inch into the soil. When watering lettuce, remember that the goal is to always keep the soil moist. Anything beyond that will hurt the plant.
Lettuce plants grow quickly, about 1-3 months after planting, depending on the variety. Using horticultural soap once a week is recommended to keep aphids away. Lettuce is fully grown when it is about 3-6 inches long. When you are ready to harvest, just cut the lettuce from the ground level.
Growing lettuce indoors is not difficult at all and most varieties grow year-round. Keep planting your lettuce so you have your own supply of salad staples throughout the year. This allows you to eat affordable and nutritious salads whenever you want.
Advantages of Growing Lettuce at Home
Apart from being easy to grow lettuce at home, lettuce also contains a lot of nutrients. Lettuce is a salad staple that’s rich in vitamins A and K. It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is commonly found in fish. It is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids for vegetarians and vegans.
Lettuce also contains good amounts of vitamin C, Calcium, and Manganese. It contains 30% RDA of Calcium and 13% RDA of Manganese per 100 grams.
Lettuce is also proven to induce sleep and keep you hydrated. Lastly, lettuce is one of the best foods for weight loss. It’s rich in fiber and has almost no calories. One leaf is only about 1 calorie each, so go ahead and go crazy on the lettuce!
You’ve learned about growing lettuce at home and its many health benefits. Now it’s time to learn about the types of lettuce and the salads you can make with them.
Best Types of Lettuce for Your Salad
The four major classifications of lettuce are butterhead, iceberg, loose-leaf, and romaine. The best type for growing lettuce indoors is the loose-leaf kind. Apart from being easiest to grow indoors, another bonus in growing loose-leaf lettuce is the abundance in harvest. Collect only what you need, and cut just above the ground, you can have 2-3 cuttings per plant.
Here’s a list of the best types of lettuce to grow indoors that are also perfect for salads.
Grand Rapids Lettuce
First on our list, Grand Rapids lettuce is the most popular kind of loose-leaf lettuce. It grows fast, adapts well to temperature changes, and can withstand the cold. Grand Rapids has a bright green color and frilled, wavy leaves. Its leaves can grow up to 8 inches high. It has a naturally bitter taste that goes well with fresh fruits and sweet salad dressings. So, try it with apples, sun-dried tomatoes, and raspberry vinaigrette.
Black-Seeded Simpson can withstand winter temperatures but is not a fan of the summer heat. Also, like the Grand Rapids lettuce, it is a fast-growing plant. It has dark green, ruffled leaves. It gives off a sweet taste and is the perfect base for savory salads. Try it as a base for a Greek salad, with lots of tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, and feta cheese.
Green Ice Lettuce
Green ice lettuce grows best when it’s in sunlight. It has a bright, glossy appearance, and its leaves can grow up to 9” long. It is one of the crispier kinds of lettuce in the loose-leaf variety and one of the sweetest. Because of its crunch, it’s great to use as a base for lettuce wraps. For salads, it’s a great match for soft ingredients like potatoes, tuna, and egg. It’s a great base for a Nicoise salad.
Lollo Rosso Lettuce
The Lollo Rosso lettuce also goes by Lollo Rossa or Continental Red. It is a type of lettuce that grows well year-round. Also, it has beautiful magenta edges, making it a favorite for garnishes. And it has a mild taste that will create colorful, flavorful salads. Try it with avocados, onions, and olive oil.
Growing Lettuce at Home In Your Own Mini Garden
Growing lettuce at home is a fun activity, even if you’re new to gardening. You will quickly reap the benefits of your work. Plus, having a year-round supply of lettuce will provide you with delicious salads for all your meals, regardless of your cooking skill level. And there are so many other vegetables you can grow indoors. Try researching about which plants you can easily grow in your home. Once you have your own mini garden, eating healthy will be a cinch.