The ability to grow lettuce indoors in water is a fantastic activity for the whole family! It provides a sense of achievement when using leftover lettuce crowns and roots in a jar of water to extend the life of the plant. Another alternative for growing salad leaves is to plant the seed in a hydroponic system or use seed pods in an AeroGarden unit.
As I was growing up, Mum used to keep the lettuce crowns for me to grow in water. Lettuces in those days were not the fancy type we get in today’s market. It was just standard lettuce purchased at the markets and some used to have roots still attached that were not cut off.
Mum would pull the centre out of the lettuce, and she never used a knife; instead, she would grab and twist and out came the middle part. I used to get a jar and add water halfway up and place the roots and stem inside the jam jar. I would put it on the windowsill where the sun could provide lighting. The lettuce would grow from the top. Mum or Dad would let me know when to change the water.
I often had half a dozen jars sitting along the windowsill, and Mum would pick at the lettuce when the leaves grew and put them on sandwiches or in a salad. Growing lettuce from scraps would save my Mum money as the food budget was very tight when I was young, food was not wasted in those days.
Some scrap lettuces produced leaves, others did not do so good. Sometimes they would bolt and flower when they did this, Dad would gather the seed from them, saved them and planted them in his greenhouse during winter, ready for spring planting.
As a child, I loved this indoor activity, and I’m sure other children would love it too!
So, what type of lettuce leftover are best suited to grow in a jar?
I would experiment with a variety of your favourite lettuces. What works for some people may not work for others. The success rate depends on the time of year and the temperature within your home.
Another great activity to include is to measure the leaves to see how fast they are growing each day. Children will love it!
Seed either collected from your garden or bought from a garden centre
So, you have decided to grow lettuce from seed without dirt. Lettuces can be grown outdoors, but there are some pros and cons to successfully grown lettuce.
|Easy to grow||Needs full sun in winter|
|Lovely homegrown taste||Needs shade during summer|
|Requires low light||Needs lots of moisture|
|Coole temperature||hates hot weather|
|fast growing||can bolt to seed before harvest|
|Ideal for hydroponics or Aerogardens||requires room temperature of about 20-25 degrees Celsius|
|Ready for harvest between 30-60 days||can be susceptible to caterpillers and bugs when plants are under stress.|
If you are growing seed in a hydroponic system you would need to sow 5 to 10 seeds per seedling cube and plant about 7 inches apart for larger lettuces.
If you are planting varieties of loose lettuce leaves plant about 3-10 in each pot, and as they grow, you can harvest back to 1-2 plants to maturity.
NOTE: Root systems of lettuces are relatively shallow and require lots of water.
AeroGarden Seed Pods
If you have an AeroGarden system, you can grow lettuce using the seed pods that come in a kit. You can grow lettuces all year round, indoors, under grow lights.
Lettuces are ready to harvest in about four weeks and can last between 3 to 4 months, depending on variety, and how fast they grow.
Homegrown lettuce is tastier than commercially grown. It’s grown organically without pesticides and is a non-GMO product. I often hear on the television news that someone has become sick from eating salad greens and spinach that have E.Coli infection.
E.coli is contamination it can come from organic and non-organic farms that have bird and cow waste contaminating the produce.
Contamination of salad leaves will make us very sick, and we can get urinary tract infections and diarrhea, in extreme cases, death.
Therefore, it is essential to wash your lettuces even if they have been grown on organic farms. But growing your own indoors away from birds and cows, you have a less likely chance of having your salad greens infected
What are the best salad greens to grow in my AeroGarden?
The best varieties of salad greens to grow in the AeroGraden Is the red/leaf, Mixed Romaine and butterhead.
Heirloom Salad Greens: Black Seeded Simpson, Deer Tongue, Firecracker, Marvel of 4 seasons, Rouge d Hiver and Parris Island.
When you get your AeroGarden lettuce pods, there are some tips and tricks to successful lettuces:
- Keep the position of the grow lights between 4 to 6 inches above the plant growth
- Don’t let the lettuce leaves touch the grow lights
Lettuce is one of the most successful plants to grow, and you could try the “grow anything kit” and use your seeds to experiment.
How do I Prune lettuce?
Pruning your lettuce plant is what you need to do to boost growth and increase your yield.
- Harvest 3 weeks after seeds have been planted
- Pick lettuce 2-3 times a week
- What should I use to remove the leaves: scissors, pruning shears, or use your fingers to pinch off at the base of the plant
- Make the cut 1-2 inches from the top of lettuce, don’t cut off more than 1/3 leave 2/3 of the plant
- To allow more light between plants cut off the leaves close to the base of the stem
- Keep you grow lights low to produce more leaves.
Growing lettuce from scraps, seeds or seed pods can yield an abundance of lettuce leaves to add them to your favourite salads or sandwiches. Experimenting is a great activity to get your children involved to see nature at work and eat what they have grown.
If you are an AeroGarden lover or would like to become one, I would love to hear your feedback on the systems, plants you have grown or issues you have faced and success stories.
All the Best