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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Seed Starting Buttercrunch Lettuce

I grow and eat vegetables from the garden year round so I constantly have to start new lettuce to replenish my supply.

Here is how I start my Bibb Buttercrunch lettuce.

I use peat pots to start my seedlings. I get good germination rates (>90%) and the peat pots are easy to plant.

First soak the peat pots to full size:
Fill a container with water. I usually use a bucket because I use a lot of peat pots.
Add the peat pots to the water.
Put another bucket on top with a weight to make sure all the peat pots are pushed into the water. 

It takes a few hours for the peat pots to soak in the water and grow to full size. Put the full size peat pots in a tray and let them set there for about 15 minutes. Excess water in the peat pots can drain out into the tray.
Take the seeds and slightly push them into the wet peat pot. Don't worry if you put more than 1 seed into each pot. You can thin them out later.  It takes a little practice o get the technique down.
Take fine, moist soil and sprinkle it on the top of each peat pot. Put just enough to cover the seed. The seeds are in the peat pots, covered, and ready to start.
Always label your seeds with the name and start date.
Cover the tray with a clear plastic cover and keep it indoors under grow lights.
Keep the peat pot moist. Leave the lights on about 12 hours a day. They germinate within a few days. The picture below shows seedlings about 2 weeks old.
Keep them covered until they outgrow the clear plastic cover. Continue to keep them uncovered under the lights. If roots start to stick out just sprinkle some soil to keep them moist and covered. Wait until the first true leaves are present before transplanting to their final location.

The lettuce will be full grown within 45-60 days. Just cut the head off or pluck the leaves and leave the roots.The lettuce will grow back.  Buttercrunch lettuce is easy to grow. It is an excellent foundation for any salad. The taste of freshly grown, organic lettuce, picked minutes before eating cannot be beat !

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