After reading the previous article, you certainly decided that such a wonderful vegetable should grow in your garden.
After all, such healthy greens should be on our table every day.
So it’s time to talk about the rules of growing lettuce in our summer cottages. The process of growing lettuce in itself is simple, but still you need to know some of its features. Otherwise, you can be left without a crop
Garden vegetable salad, lettuce and other types of salad, unpretentious. But this does not mean that you can grow a salad according to the scheme: sowed and forgot.
Like all other cultures, this one, which gives juicy, extremely healthy, tasty greens, needs to be nurtured.
But there is no need to invest excessive labor in plant cultivation.
A tireless minimum of attention, labor, and a gardener will provide the family with early delicious vitamin products.
We arm ourselves with knowledge: what salad is needed first of all.
The root of the salad, even the most powerful, is small.
At the same time, he holds a considerable load – lettuce leaves a leaf, heads of cabbage – head out, asparagus drive out stems that are thick with a hand thick.
All of this, of course, requires intense nutrition.
Therefore, on a meager land, it is illogical to expect a obviously good harvest. The soil needs nutritious, seasoned, preferably organic.
You can add minerals to it before planting, but it is worth remembering: this is still “chemistry”, and it will rush right into the leaf.
To the mass, for the sake of which we grow this wonderful vegetable, famous for a variety of types and forms – salad.
If the nutrient components extracted from organic fertilizer (semi-overripe manure, ripened compost) go there, this is a natural process. Natural.
Organic compounds can easily be integrated into the structure of plant cells, and then, already in the product, our body will naturally accept them.
Health care is more important than primitive desire to “kill a worm” with something. It is better to stain it with useful products.
Therefore, if possible avoiding synthetic drugs, we will remember: ecology is important.
So, first of all – smartly fertilized soil. Better: fertilized in the fall. Why?
Because organic matter is distributed evenly over the autumn-winter period, the overfeeding plant that has begun to vegetate will not experience.
It will take as much as it is optimally required for sheet mass formation.
The soil is necessarily loose. Organics usually keep it in this state.
But if there is loam, when digging it will not hurt to introduce a certain amount of sand.
Remember: the root is small, its tasks are great. In dense soil with them, it may not work in full force.
Autumn digging with organic matter and (possibly – if necessary) making sand;
Presowing spring early digging and harrowing – loosening of the site;
Providing drainage. This also works on structure. Overmoistening of arbitrarily fed and structural soils will inevitably lead to their compaction. And it is not difficult to avoid this – in climatically moist regions, either raised ridges for lettuce or a drainage layer / drainage grooves around the beds.
In case of excess moisture, the root will be soaked. With a lack – also perish. Hence: the soil in the area should be provided with moisture. Either this is originally a site with optimal moisture, or you will have to ensure the availability of irrigation water. The salad is hygrophilous, it is unrealistic to form a powerful mass without moisture, and this is: the purpose of the gardener, the harvest of green mass.
According to its preferences, the salad does not tolerate acidic soils, although it tolerates mild acidity. Check the area for acidity at least for herbs that you did not sow there (weeds). Found a wood louse, plantain, knotweed – think about it. These herbs settle just in acidic, albeit moderately, places. Perhaps there is a plot on your site where the plantain is in no hurry to step on? Consider them for other parameters, it may be suitable for a successful cultivation of lettuce.
If there are signs of high acidity, it is better to lime the area, because most plants grown in culture do not like acid, gravitate to neutral soils or tolerate slightly alkaline.
The previous subsection smoothly led us to the need to select a site.
Knowing already that it is necessary to choose a place where the soil is loose, regularly fertilized, it is better in advance, from the fall, and devoid of excess acid, we are looking for such a site.
At the same time, we focus on the possibility of hydration and, at the same time, on the organization of drainage of excess water or drainage.
Lettuce is a precocious culture, can withstand several cuts or plantings per season, so the site is hardly worth taking as large as possible.
Salad will not ask for a lot of space, even throwing a leaf, it will coexist peacefully with relatives, and it will not cram other planned neighbors.
Having decided on the quality of the soil and the size of the site, look at its location.
Again, recall the ratio of the aboveground and underground parts of the salad. Above the earth, this is a powerful and fragile creature, in the earth there is a small root.
We are looking for a sheltered place where a sudden strong wind (and such happen anywhere) does not damage the plant. It will not break it, because juicy leaves and stems are more fragile compared to the rest.
But the wind protection – the fence of the site, shrubs, trees, should be organized so as not to obscure the future salad.
He loves the sun, only under such a condition, natural for most plants, the grown salad will be fruitful.
Salad will not ask for more. If you want to emphasize its decorativeness, and even the most “simplest” types of lettuce are very elegant, then think over another point: where it is advantageous to place it for viewing, while not forgetting to provide all of the above conditions to the plant.
Partially, we touched on this issue, choosing a plot of culture. Having a structurally fertilized, drained soil, it will not be difficult to prepare it for sowing.
Salad is an early culture. Therefore, before sowing, it remains only to form (if necessary) ridges under it, to keep them in a loose state.
It is convenient to loosen it with a plane cutter, destroying the soil crust, at the same time it destroys still thin shoots of cold-resistant weeds.
Do not allow the site to stand for a long time under the crust, even deep-lying moisture evaporates very quickly through its cracks.
It is evenly distributed in the soil layer; it is unreasonable to lose it. Irrigation water so organically does not fit into the soil structure, it is easy to overfill or lack water.
And we strive for the optimum, for the ideal for growing our salad. Favorable conditions are important to any culture.
In practice, it often does not have time to get to the soil crust. The heat salad does not wait, they sow it earlier.
The cold resistance of the crop makes it easier to grow lettuce. It easily rises already at 4 ° of the first spring heat. The snow has melted, the soil has ripened, so you can sow.
It is not necessary for the gardener who wants to get an early luxurious leaf to the table to be afraid of return frosts.
Even shoots stand at – 4 °, and when several leaves are formed, then – 8 ° young plants will survive without serious consequences.
Specific dates vary by region. Southerners can sow in the winter, if it is warm.
North are guided by the descent of snow and maturity of soils. Maturity is determined by checking: is the ground friable, is it amenable to processing, cutting of furrows.
Lumps frozen or clumped from moisture will tell the plant grower: it’s too early with sowing.
When you can easily form furrows, you can proceed. This frees up the busiest time for other gardening jobs when more heat-loving crops are sown.
Unforeseen circumstances sometimes adjust our plans.
If something happened that prevented sowing at the optimal time, but the grower intends to grow a salad in any case, the sowing time is shifted.
Sowing it later, evaluate the location again. The heat during seedlings is detrimental to the culture.
You may have to choose a different area, find a partial shade for the salad. Then there will be an adjustment of the conditions taking into account the biology of the plant.
Productivity will not decrease, or its losses will be minimal.
Cutting furrows from the fall do not practice. Salad seeds are too small, therefore, they are not deeply buried.
And the small furrows during the winter simply blur, will be leveled by the weight of the snow or a fraction of the rains.
If you want to get a super-early harvest, the plot planned and prepared in the fall is tightened with film without installing a frame.
They do this when thawed spots appear, at the beginning of snow melting. You can, when the snow is almost gone – at will to vary the timing.
Earth under the sun with the greenhouse effect warms up faster. Accordingly, the soil matures earlier.
The film is then removed, and small, approximately two-centimeter furrows (in depth) are cut.
It’s not worth it to go deeper: small seeds wake up even deeper between the lumps of earth.
Then it will be difficult for them to break up, or even impossible.
It is convenient to outline the grooves with a plane cutter; it is easy for them to form shallow recesses. The hoe is heavier, it goes deeper into the loose earth.
The distance between the rows is observed up to 20 cm, correction for the variety is possible (closer – further).
Even if the soil is optimally moist, before sowing it is slightly shed along the furrows. The earth settles a little, and the seeds are more likely to be at the same level, at a given depth.
If something wakes up below, the amount of such seeds will be insignificant.
The small size of the seed makes it difficult to meter the seed, so they sow in bulk, trying not to thicken future seedlings.
Anyway, with good germination, it will turn out densely, it will be corrected later – by thinning.
Grooves are flush with the rest of the soil. It is also convenient to carry out this manipulation with a plane cutter.
It is not necessary to raise the earth above the rows with a tubercle, the salad will easily rise even with a half-centimeter embedment, maximum – a two-centimeter deepening.
It is a labor-intensive culture, but some features in the care, cultivation of lettuce, it is worth knowing.
Maintaining Optimum Humidity
Before germination, the soil should not dry out. Otherwise, drying out, it forms a crust that cracks and at the same time tears thin salad seedlings even underground.
Here, even mulch will not help, because the plant sprouts quickly, makes its way up with small leaves.
Immediately needs light. Mulch for five days, then remove the mulch, risking damage to the seedlings, it makes no sense.
Therefore, there are only two options:
1. Carefully control soil moisture;
2. Cover the area with a transparent film and remove it at the beginning of emergence. You can raise the film like a greenhouse, but not necessarily. The main thing is to remove in time and continue to moderately moisten the crops.
It’s also not worth it to be zealous when watering the plant grow stronger. But you have to keep the middle ground.
The salad does not tolerate either overdrying or waterlogging. Moisture should be sufficient, but moderate.
If there is a surplus, the gardener will encounter diseases of the culture, or the salad will even get wet.
With insufficient watering of the succulent mass, not a single type of lettuce (leaf, cabbage or asparagus) is capable of forming a full crop.
Therefore, observing the soil and the state of the plants themselves, it will be necessary to organize “watering on demand.”
This is not difficult, because the real owner must go around the site every day, check what and how.
Salad, no matter how you try to sow it evenly, because of the fineness of the seeds will rise anyway with thickening.
Therefore, thinning of crops is inevitable. Too early when the stalks of the plants are still thin, like threads, it is impossible to thin out.
The spine is already forming, next to another plant. Together with a lump of earth at the root, the neighboring one can also pull out.
It’s worth the wait until the real leaflets. Not for long: the appearance of the first pair is enough.
The first thinning – the arrangement – is enough at a distance of three centimeters between the seedlings.
When they grow to close leaves in a row, the final arrangement is carried out.
The distance during the second thinning is approximately equal to the row spacing.
Arranged so that according to varietal characteristics, the characteristics of the salad, he had enough light, space and food.
This procedure is regular. The seedling phase is vulnerable in all respects – and the soil needs to be loose, and it is dangerous to disturb it, so that the stems are not damaged.
Therefore, the very top of the row-spacings is carefully loosened, not very close to the rows.
As the seedlings grow, loosen more often and bolder. After the final arrangement, careful loosening is also carried out in rows until the sheet covers the soil surface.
Then he dampens the weeds and retains moisture, if possible, loosen the aisles.
After each cut (if the lettuce is grown cut, leaf), the soil loosens thoroughly around the plant.
The procedure is periodically repeated until the leaves regrowth.
The soil is seasoned with organic matter, the lettuce grows quickly, the removal of food from the ground by the plant is small.
Therefore, two or three cuts without top dressing culture tolerates easily. With a long growing season, leaf forms can manage to drive out one more – two cuts.
Then it is advisable to help them.
After the next cut with watering or loosening, you can add a small (half) dose of available complex fertilizer.
It’s better not to take a flower – we do not need flowers, crops are not seed. Pay attention to whether nitrogen is present in the composition of the tuk (fertilizer), and in what quantity.
If it is more than potassium, phosphorus – it is likely to do. It is nitrogen that stimulates the set of vegetative green mass, it will spur leaf growth.
Fertilizers are scattered in the aisles, then loosening or watering is carried out – orientation on the type of work – according to weather conditions, soil condition.
But giving the full recommended dose is undesirable. Products are leaf, stem, not fruit.
Having received a lot of nitrogen, the leaves will grow, but they will store nitrates. This is harmful in the diet, so it is precisely half the dose that you apply with top dressing.
And only after the third cut: the previous ones will take the necessary from the organics introduced in the fall.
Growing lettuce on a flower bed
Here are your features. Purpose: products plus decorativeness.
This approach simplifies some care operations. Thinning disappears: solid curly rows of lush leaves look elegant.
They go to food easily, only a leaf is smaller.
In the flowerbed, thickened plantings can be affected by diseases, pests spread to them faster.
This must be taken into account, try to provide ventilation as much as possible, not over-moisten the luxurious rows, and cut in time.
So that the flower bed does not become bare after cutting, it is better to sow a salad on it at different times: the plants of the first sowing are cut, the second is already green.
When the second come to cut, the first grow up.
Diseases of salad crops
Juicy tender leaves, hygrophilous plants are a temptation for fungal microflora, which also adores moisture and feeds on plant flesh.
Even trees are susceptible to fungal diseases, fragile lettuce in this regard is even more difficult.
Its main enemies from the world of fungi:
Black leg (especially in greenhouse cultivation or in greenhouses);
Black rot, loving wet years and stagnant waters;
White rot, like all mushrooms, looking for juicy wet food;
Powdery mildew – almost omnivorous flora, where there are plants, moisture and heat, there is powdery mildew.
Salad, like all greens, is harder to protect. It is valuable after all, so pesticides are excluded.
They accumulate in the leaves, such products are unsuitable for the table.
Therefore remain – improvised means. Our assistants:
Of course, they will not help in their original form, they will have to be prepared for spraying.
Tomato or potato tops are fermented in a warm place in an unsealed container – you can use a plastic tank – for several days. Filter. It turns out an effective drug of double action: it will slow down the disease and scare away pests, and destroy some. It is only necessary to spray the lettuce crops with the obtained infusion characteristic for solanaceous solanines. Solanine will not be absorbed by a leaf of lettuce, the quality of the product will remain. And the disinfecting effect on the fungus solanin – will have.
Garlic, infused in water for 24 hours and filtered, is also a medicinal product ready for spraying. Due to phytoncides and hotness, the infusion of garlic fights against pathogenic flora and, at the same time, against harmful fauna (pests).
Whey is mixed with dispensed or grated laundry soap dissolved in warm ordinary water. Soaps are taken a little, for three liters of serum 50 grams. Another drug for fungal diseases. Soap is added for good adherence to the sheet (then, acting on the disease, it can be easily washed off by watering), and the serum is affected by acidity and a set of persistent organic substances. They are useful to humans, but the fungus dies from them.
Tender greens are loved not only by us. Multi-eating pests can destroy crops “at zero”.
The most evil vegetable lovers are the ubiquitous slugs. They generally choose everything juicy, and if you do not protect the landing, they will not creep past. However, there are methods to force them to bypass salad plots. Sprinkling the soil around the plants with a thin layer of a mixture of sand and wood ash, you will beat off any toothy, slippery gourmet any desire to dine (slugs eat mainly at night) salad. You can put wet rags in the rows between the rows at night, in the morning you will collect a “crop” of slugs that have covered themselves under them for a day. Traps of this type are very effective, they collect many pests.
Another disaster: aphids. So much juice in a salad for her is the best dining room. If you do not be on the alert, be sure to settle there aphids. The protection is the same as from diseases, plus an ash-soap solution. Aphids die from it, there is no harm to the plant.
Wireworms can damage the roots of the culture if they are on the site. The pest is fortunately not common everywhere. Of course, it is difficult to deal with it, even if pesticides were permissible. This is another case, so only bait traps will help here. A precautionary measure, you need to catch wireworms before the salad is sown. Cut the potatoes into slices, make shallow pits, arrange the slices. Dip it. Designate trap locations to easily find them. Three days later, dig a bunch of elongated hard yellow larvae and destroy the prey. Repeat until the “catch” disappears. This means – the number of harmful larvae is reduced to a minimum, you can sow and grow lettuce.
Whatever the pests or diseases that have chosen the salad, they are fought with only environmentally friendly methods:
Agricultural technology (especially crop rotation);
Arranging traps for pests;
Harmless to humans means of processing.
All types of lettuce are cleaned in one way: cut. The difference in frequency.
Most leafy ones give several cuts. Headed – one. Asparagus can be cut if used immediately.
But they can be removed by pulling them with roots, so that they can still be stored for some time.
Leafy. Leafy are not stored for a long time. They are cooled, then used.
If, nevertheless, such a need — to keep them for three to seven days — is available, you can try. There are some subtleties.
Although the salad is juicy and, it would seem, it needs more moisture even during storage, this is not so.
Cut wet (or washed) leaf lettuce quickly rots.
Therefore, they cut it dry, without dew. Choose the appropriate weather so that it is dry the day before.
In a tied bag in the lower compartment of the refrigerator, the cut leafy vegetable lasts about three days.
For aging a week, it is necessary to remove with the root. They also put it down in the bottom drawer.
There is no guarantee that will last a long time, but usually lasts a few days.
Heading out. Heady salads are cleaned differently. They are watered on the day before cleaning.
Water-headed cabbage is stored better. Cut it, stepping down to the root, from the base of the leaves a small finger-thick distance.
In a cool, moderately humid basement, heads of cabbage lie for a week without any problems. Then the taste and nutritional value will be lost.
If there is a place in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator, the salad in a plastic bag will lie there longer suitable for consumption.
Asparagus Asparagus is harvested at about 4 months of age, the cultivation of these salads is lengthy.
But first, they carry out several cuts of edible leaves, starting from a month and a half. Leaf – for food, the stem gets enhanced nutrition, it is better formed.
Having counted back about half a month from the proposed harvesting, the plant is freed from all leaves altogether.
The stalk quickly thickens, builds up mass. Then they cut it off.
It is impossible to overexert: the stem will drive the flower stalks, become coarser, lose commercial qualities.
The stem is stored for a long time, it is consumed in the summer, and can be stored in the winter.
In the second case, plants with roots are removed. Do it in late autumn, before frosts.
After all the leaves are cut, and put the salad on the ground in the basement. To do this, fill the boxes with earth, moisten it.
The roots are also sprinkled with soil. The method is laborious, not for everybody. It is necessary to monitor the humidity, temperature, condition of plants.
A rare enthusiast practices this at home.
Now you are armed with the minimum knowledge required to grow different types of salads.
You know that a wavy green leaf is not just a decoration on a plate, but a valuable, even sometimes healing, product.
Will there be a place for an early green healer in your area?
Evaluate your crop rotation: perhaps it was the salad that has long awaited your attention. And I’m ready to repay you for it with all my healing powers.