The Q&A Archives: Lettuce not coming up

Question: I have planted my lettuce twice this year. The first time I planted it the weather became very hot (90+ degrees) so I thought that was why it didn't come up. I planted it again 2 weeks ago. The weather has been cool but very wet. I have 4 varieties I am trying to grow- Black Seeded Simpson, Prizehead, Salad Bowl, and Fire Mtn.. I was very careful not to plant it too deep, and thought that maybe I had worked in too much compost the first time I planted it so the second time worked in more of the dirt. I just don't know what's going on! Please help.

Answer: Lettuce really is easy to grow, so don't give up! Plant the seeds only 1/4" inch deep in compost-rich, well-draining soil. The seeds need light to germinate, so you might be better off preparing the garden plot, sprinkling your seeds on top, and then gently pressing them in with your hand. If the seeds are too deep, they'll run out of energy before the sprouts can reach the light. Lettuce seeds will take 7-10 days to sprout at temperatures of 65F - 70F degrees. Keep the seedbed moist by watering gently each day. When the seedlings have two sets of leaves, thin the plants leaving an inch between them. As they grow, thin again, leaving 2" inches between the plants. You should continue to thin as the plants grow, using the baby lettuce plants in your salad, or transplanting them back into the garden at the proper spacing. The extremes in weather are probably to blame for the lack of germination. Try it one more time following the above guidelines and they're sure to sprout for you.

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