How to Grow Salad Bowl Lettuce is a step by step guide to show you how easy it is to grow salad leaves so you can enjoy fresh salad all summer long. I’ve also included some recipes for you to make with your lettuce at the end of this page.
What is Salad Bowl Lettuce?
Salad Bowl Lettuce is a loose-leaf or ‘cut and come again’ variety of lettuce, this means you can pick individual leaves and the lettuce plant will continue to grow.
Salad Bowl Lettuce comes in green and red varieties, you can also buy seed mixes where you grow mixed leaves of different varieties.
Why grow Salad Bowl Lettuce?
- You can grow it in the garden or in a container
- It keeps growing after you pick some of the leaves
- Growing your own is much better value than buying bags of salad
- You know how it has been grown and you can avoid chemicals
- Sow seeds little and often and you will have salad until the early autumn (fall).
When do I sow the lettuce seeds?
It depends on the climate where you live, but in the UK you can plant lettuce outside between March and September.
I live in Scotland so I rarely sow lettuce seeds outside before April. As a rule of thumb, wait until the last frost has passed before sowing.
Help! I’ve never grown anything before
Don’t worry, I will take you through the steps to successful growing. I am not a professional gardener, but I have over 30 years of success in growing food in my garden.
How to Grow Salad Bowl Lettuce
There are many different varieties of salad bowl lettuce. You will find that each seed company has different names. Look for salad leaves, salad bowl or baby leaf mix.
Please check the directions on the seed packet, it’s highly likely that the instructions on the packet will be very similar to the steps below but always check the seed packet.
Where do I plant the lettuce seeds?
Plant the seeds in a place that gets sun most of the day. Lettuce will grow in most types of soil but it will grow better if you can dig in a little garden compost or manure to the seedbed.
How do I sow lettuce seeds?
Lay a cane or a long stick to mark a straight line for sowing the seeds. Use a trowel, an old spoon or your fingers to create a groove that is 1 cm deep.
Use a watering can to soak the row where you plan to sow the seeds.
Lettuce seeds are very light and will blow out of your hand on a windy day. Shake a few seeds from the packet onto the palm of your hand, then sow them thinly along the length of the row.
Don’t use all the seeds in the packet in one sowing. Sow seeds every two or three weeks to keep a supply of leaves growing all summer.
Cover the lettuce seeds with soil with your trowel and mark the end of the row with a marker to show what you have planted in that row.
Make your own plant labels by cutting up plastic containers that are white inside. Large Yogurt containers are particularly good.
Thin out the seedlings if needed
The salad leaves should start to grow fairly quickly and after one month will be large enough for you to pick a few leaves. If the seeds have been sown too thickly, you can pull out some of the plants to make more room for the others.
Keep the lettuce well-watered
Water the soil, the seedlings, and the grown plants frequently, particularly if there has been no rain, or you have very free-draining soil. This is because lettuce plants have a high water content and they won’t grow without it.
Can I grow Salad Bowl lettuce in a container?
Yes, this type of cut and come again lettuce grows really well in a large container.
Fill the pot with multipurpose compost, water well, scatter over the seeds and then cover with a thin layer of compost.
Harvesting your Salad Bowl Lettuce
Cut and come again lettuce loves to be picked! Frequent picking will give you a longer cropping time.
Preparing the leaves for eating
Fill a bowl with cold water and add 1 tsp of salt and leave to soak for 10 minutes. You add the salt because it will kill off any little bugs which may be lurking in amongst the leaves. If you don’t want to kill the bugs, then check each leaf carefully.
Thoroughly wash rinse the leaves and spin in a salad spinner to dry or wrap loosely in a clean tea towel and pat dry.
Pests and Diseases
Most modern seed varieties are bred to be disease-resistant. Check when you buy the seeds to make sure you get a robust and well-tested variety from an established seed company because this is the best way to get a successful crop.
Slugs and snails enjoy lettuce as much as we do, therefore they are the biggest menace and danger to your lettuce crop.
There are many different ways to deter them including beer traps, eggshells and coffee grounds. I have had some success with small branches of holly leaves cut from my holly tree.
You can also go out at night and pick the slugs out of your garden but be sure to dispose of them far away or they will soon return.
More How to Grow Features
How to Grow Summer Radish is a step by step guide to show you how easy it is to grow radishes. Sow seeds every couple of weeks so you can enjoy fresh salad all summer long.
Salad Leaves Recipes from Farmersgirl Kitchen
Radish Asparagus Avocado Salad brings together the very best of early summer ingredients. It’s a fresh and light salad served with a creamy yogurt, fennel, and garlic dressing and it is really very delicious.
Cypriot Greengrocer’s Salad with Feta from Amy Riolo’s The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook
Sometimes you just have too much lettuce and that’s when you need to know How to make Lettuce Soup. It’s creamy and delicious and super simple to make.
More Salad Recipes
- Vegetarian Salad Nicoise – Tin & Thyme
- Green Salad with Pumpkin Seed Dressing – Veggie Desserts
- Thai Chicken Salad with Honey Drizzled Cashews – Easy Peasy Foodie
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How to Grow Salad Bowl Lettuce
- cane or long stick
- Watering can
- 10 litres multipurpose compost If growing in a container
- 1 packet Salad Bowl (cut & come again) Lettuce seeds
- Plant the seeds in a place that gets sun most of the day. Lettuce will grow in most types of soil but it will grow better if you can dig in a little garden compost or manure to the seedbed.
- Lay a cane or a long stick to mark a straight line for sowing the seeds. Use a trowel, an old spoon or your fingers to create a groove that is 1 cm deep.
- Use a watering can to soak the row where you plan to sow the seeds.
- Shake a few seeds from the packet onto the palm of your hand, then sow them thinly along the length of the row.
- Cover the lettuce seeds with soil with your trowel and mark the end of the row with a marker to show what you have planted in that row.
- The salad leaves should start to grow fairly quickly and after one month will be large enough for you to pick a few leaves. If the seeds have been sown too thickly, you can pull out some of the plants to make more room for the others.
- Water frequently especially if there has been no rain..