The Q&A Archives: Lettuce Seed Tape Gemination seed tape

Question: I planted the "Crispy Frills Lettuce" seed tape in a shallow trench and covered on March 20th last, 4 weeks ago. No sign of any growth as of April 10th.

I broadcast sowed and lightly covered your mesculin greens mix on the same day and see only three "possible" seedlings at this date.

The seed bed was lightly watered daily.

I have planted lettuce seed before, not a tape, and had no problems.

Please comment.

Answer: Lettuce generally germinates best planted about 1/8" deep and gently firmed at a soil temperature of 68 degrees or lower, and will begin germinating at about 40 degrees. If overheated or allowed to dry out it will not germinate, but another possibility is that it was so wet it rotted, since the paper can hold a bit of extra moisture against the seed. Mesclun mixes are generally similar -- while they will not germinate in dry soil, they need only a light and gentle sprinkling to keep the soil moist rather than soggy. Other possibilities are heavy or frequent watering which can cause soil compaction and crusting which will stop the seedlings, and wind which can blow dry soil (and seeds) away in no time.

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