When to sow lettuce seeds
Sow your lettuce seeds directly into the ground in spring. Sow successive batches of seeds every few weeks to give yourself a constant supply of soft butterhead and crispy oakleaf lettuces to harvest over the summer months and into autumn. Choose a sunny spot in the veg patch and sow your seeds in rows, thinning seedlings as they appear to give the heads space to mature to a good size whilst keeping an eye on pests like slugs and snails and watering frequently in dry weather.
For winter growing, sow a hardy lettuce variety like lettuce ‘Little Gem’ in late summer or early autumn to allow the heads to grow to a good size before temperatures drop. Cut and come again salad leaf mixes like ‘Winter Mix’ or our ‘Mind The Gap’ collections are perfect for sowing in a tray indoors on a windowsill for a constant supply of fresh greens all year round.
How to grow lettuce in pots
Lettuce is easy to grow in any size pot. Simply fill your clean pot, window box or hanging basket with multi-purpose compost to within an inch of the rim and scatter your lettuce seeds over the soil surface. Lightly cover the seeds with a sprinkle of compost and water them in well.
Expect to see germination within two weeks of sowing your lettuce seeds. Place your pots on a sunny windowsill or outside in a spot in full sun after temperatures warm in May. Lightly thin out the seedlings when they have at least two true leaves showing. Either cut the lettuce heads whole when they’re large enough or pick leaves from the plants as and when you need them as a cut and come again crop.
How long do lettuce seeds take to germinate?
Lettuce seeds take between seven and 15 days to germinate. Warmer temperatures of between 18°C and 25°C encourage faster germination whereas temperatures between 10°C and 18°C will produce slightly slower germination. Make sure to keep your seeds moist after sowing to encourage good germination.
How to grow watercress from seed
Sow watercress seeds between March and August for the best results. Fill pots in the greenhouse or containers on the windowsill with fine seed compost, dampen the soil and scatter your seeds over the surface, making sure they’re covered with a sprinkle of compost. Expect to see germination from your watercress seeds within 14 days of sowing.
Watercress seedlings are delicious picked as a microgreen when they’re an inch tall. Simply use scissors to snip the little greens off at the base of the stem to enjoy in salads or sandwiches. If you want to eat the vitamin C rich leaves at maturity, transplant the seedlings into their own pots to develop or harden them off in a cold frame for two weeks before planting outdoors in the garden. Make sure your watercress is growing in rich, moist soil for the best results.