London (change)

How to sow salad seeds in guttering

You will need

  • Seeds of mixed salad leaves
  • Plastic guttering
  • Fine-tooth tenon saw or hacksaw
  • Gaffa tape
  • Multi-purpose compost
  • Watering can
Do it: March - August
At its best: harvest from April to September
Takes just: 20 minutes


You can never have enough salad in summer, but sowing directly into the soil takes up valuable space in the garden. Keep a regular supply handy by sowing seeds in lengths of plastic guttering to transplant to the soil at a later date. Short, 1m lengths are convenient and easy to handle. When the lettuce seeds germinate, you can grow them on for two to four weeks and then simply slide the plants into their growing positions as soon as space becomes available.

How to do it


Saw the guttering to a manageable size and remove the ends. Replace each end with a large piece of gaffa tape, which will keep the compost in place but can easily be removed when you transplant the seedings into the soil. 


Fill the guttering with moist multipurpose compost and gently firm down. Create a shallow drill in the centre of the compost and sow seeds sparingly along it.


Use your thumb and forefinger to replace the compost over the seed and firm gently. 


Transfer the lengths of guttering to your greenhouse or cold frame, and water the compost with a watering can with a fine rose attached. 


Seed should germinate within a few days. Leave to grow on for up to four weeks before planting out into the soil. Don't forget to keep plants well watered, especially in hot weather. 


Your salad leaf seedlings will be ready to transplant when their roots fill the compost in the guttering. Use a garden trowel to make a wide, shallow drill in prepared soil. Then simply remove the gaff tape from one end of the guttering and gently slide the seedlings in place. Water them in thoroughly.

Our tip

Water the young lettuce plants in the guttering before sliding them out into their final position. This reduces damage to their roots.

Sow more seeds at two-week intervals to provide a continuous supply of leaves for salads.

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to sow salad seeds in guttering
Your comment will appear after a quick registration step

petethecoach 24/11/2011 at 15:28

dear sir, this year we have broad leaf grass growing in patches in our lawn. the mower has problems cutting these clumps and makes our lawn look terrible. i've tried weed and feed to no avail any ideas please yours faithfully p. hanreck

jasonbenali 24/11/2011 at 15:28

Nice idea. My lettuces are taking over!

gardendadrob 24/11/2011 at 15:28

great info as i am growing these first time this year and did not know how to do it but this is a simple way

yves 26/02/2015 at 19:03

I think its great to keep them in the guttering and along a fence if you have limited space.I grow lettuce in window boxes attatched to a fence,a struggle for the snails and easy to monitor and pick off the leaves you need them,lasted me all summer with regular sowings.