The Q&A Archives: Container Lettuce

Question: Last year I found an old metal wheel barrow, punched draining holes in it and filled it with soil with added compost and/or manure. I spread lettuce seeds over it, lightly covered it with soil and ended up with 1/2" high plants--widely scattered. Iwas primarly using cut and come again lettuces. Any suggestions for this year??

Answer: It sounds like a great planter - reuse, recycle! A couple of suggestions: First, the soil pH may be off. Lettuce preferes a near-neutral pH (6.0-7.5) - if it's too far in either extreme, plants will be stunted. I also wonder if the soil is too heavy for the lettuce. If it seems very dense and easily waterlogged, mix in some Peat-Free coconut fiber (sold by Gardener's Supply;; 800/863-1700) or create "hills" or ridges in the barrow, and plant seeds on high ground. Cover seeds with no more than 1/4" of soil, mark your rows, thin them appropriately, and you should have better luck this time around. Good luck!

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