You can grow your lettuce even better by choosing some plants to be its companion. Not only will this give you a great assortment of vegetables, fruits, or herbs; but it also enhances crop growth.
In this post, we will take you through which plants are the best companions for your lettuce. We will also discuss which ones are not suitable to grow beside lettuce.
Good Companion Plants for Lettuce
As mentioned, some plants make good neighbors for lettuce. Below we’ll highlight some of its best companions.
Here’s what to plant with lettuce:
Bad Companion Plants for Lettuce
While some plants do great side-by-side with lettuce, there are others that can be harmful. They can compete for resources like light, water, and soil nutrients.
Some plants can even attract pests to your lettuce plants.
Here’s what NOT to plant next to lettuce:
- Brussels sprouts
How to Grow Lettuce
This is a cool-season crop, so keep in mind that it will do better in cooler climates.
Many gardeners also find that they get a better yield when they sow the seeds directly into the garden bed in early spring.
Sow the seeds thinly and evenly, and cover them with a thin layer of soil —lettuce seeds need light to germinate. Also, keep the soil moist while the seeds are germinating — this should take about 7-10 days.
Once the seedlings have a set of true leaves, thin them out leaving 6 inches between each plant for leaf lettuces or 18 inches for head lettuces.
Watering and Fertilizer Requirements
Lettuce needs about 1 inch of water per week (or more in hot weather). They can also benefit from a light feeding every month or so with an organic fertilizer like compost or manure tea.
Fish Emulsion is also an organic fertilizer that’s ideal for lettuce plants.
Nitrogen helps promote lush foliage growth, so make sure that whichever fertilizer you end up choosing has a good amount of nitrogen in it. Other than nitrogen, your lettuce plants will need access to phosphorus and potassium as well.
Phosphorus helps with nutrient absorption and root development, while potassium strengthens cell walls and encourages overall plant vigor.
This salad crop can be vulnerable to several pests, including aphids, crickets, cutworms, and caterpillars.
Take the necessary steps to get rid of these plant pests organically.
Some common plant diseases can also affect lettuce. These include leaf spot, damping-off, downy mildew, and bottom rot .
However, there are many organic treatments that you can employ to deal with plant diseases.
How to Harvest
When the lettuce is full-sized but still tender, harvest it, but it’s best to do so in the morning. Check your garden every morning for tender leaves.
Leaf lettuce can be harvested before it reaches maturity by simply removing the outer leaves to allow the center leaves to continue growing.
Romaine, Butterhead, and loose-leaf varieties can be harvested by digging up the plant. However, you can still remove the outer leaves instead of killing the entire plant. By removing the outer leaves, you will continue to have lettuce for a while.
As for Crisphead lettuce, pick when its center is firm.
How to Store Lettuce
You first want to make sure that excess moisture is removed. Utilizing paper towels to wrap them up is a good way to make sure of that.
You can store in the refrigerator in a plastic container. This is a great way to keep your lettuce crisp and well-preserved for up to two weeks. Just make sure you line the container with paper towels.
If you want to preserve your lettuce for longer than two weeks, freezing is the way to go. To freeze the lettuce, rinse it off and dry it with a paper towel.
Next, place it in an air-tight container or freezer bag and press out any excess air before sealing shut.
Frozen leaves should last for up to six months — just be aware that freezing will change both the texture and taste after thawing.
Where to Buy Seeds
If you want to purchase your seeds in person, local nurseries and unique garden shops are a great option. Most will offer a variety of seed packets for different types of plants, and some may even stock unusual varieties that you can’t find online.
The internet also makes it easy to find the seeds that you need. You can purchase organic seeds online from popular sources like SeedsNow.
It’s important to remember that when other plants close to your lettuce, you should pay attention to not only the compatibility of the plants but to the growing conditions and needs of each plant.
Planting compatible companions for your lettuce can have a beneficial effect on the growth, health, and yield of your lettuce. On the other hand, planting bad companions can lead to stunted growth and poor yields.