Tall lettuces such as ‘Bionda’ or hearting lettuces like ‘Webb’s Wonderful’ are best started off in seed modules – they will grow into neat, easy-to-handle plug plants that you can plant out in the garden at a later date.
Here’s how to start off salad seeds in modules.
You Will Need
- Lettuce seeds
- Seed trays or modules
- Multi-purpose, peat-free compost
- Clear plastic bag
- 7.5cm plastic pots
- Pencil or dibber
Fill modules generously with seed compost and level off so they’re filled to the brim, then sow one or two seeds in each – you can always pinch out surplus seedlings later.
Sprinkle vermiculite or sieved compost to cover the seeds, then sit the tray in an inch of water to soak till the surface feels damp. Remove the tray from the water. Cover with a clear plastic lid or clear plastic bag. Put in a warm place to germinate.
Pot on seedlings once the second pair of leaves (or ‘true’ leaves) appear. Ease each seedling out with a dibber or pencil, handling by the leaves to avoid breaking the stems. Pot each one into a 7.5cm pot of multi-purpose compost.
Protect young plants from spring frosts if necessary, by placing in a greenhouse or porch until the soil has warmed up. Grow on young plants for a few weeks, until they have developed a good root system and are ready to plant out in the garden.
Planting baby leaf mixes
Baby leaf mixes and herbs such as parsley are best sown in seed trays, where they can be sown more densely. They can be planted out later in clumps, rather than as individual plants.