Growing romaine lettuce, and other crunchy roughage is super easy. There are also a ton of benefits! There is such a freshness and tenderness to home grown garden vegetables that just can’t be matched.
Another benefit? You also know exactly where you food is coming from!
Romaine, or Cos, is one of those vegetables that I hate having to buy at the store because it’s so darn expensive sometimes. And lately, it keeps getting recalled due to all types of weird food related diseases.
It seems as though with each recall, the longer we are out of my favorite roughage. So with that, I think it’s about time we all starting to put our gardens to work!
Considering how easy it is to grow, I long for the season that allows me to have a successful crop and deliciously fresh salads from the garden.
How to Grow Indoors
If you aren’t in a location that is conducive to outdoor planting, then you’re in luck! Romaine, and other lettuce varieties, are great options for indoor gardening!
There are so many solutions available that will support an indoor garden. And fun enough, it doesn’t stop at lettuce. You can also grow all of your herbs, and tomatoes too! You can practically create your own garden salad right in your kitchen!
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Growing Romaine Outdoors
Romaine does really well in cool weather, like spring and fall. Temperatures between 45°F and 65°F are ideal where you won’t see a frost or a heat that will wilt and dry the leaves.
Though I have been able to successfully harvest it in the summer, but not too deep into the summer where the temperatures are consistently high and rain is scarce. Maybe it’s just where I live, but if you can do the same, get as much out of them as you can!
Planting with Seeds
Lettuce can grow rather quickly, so you’ll want to think about how you’re going to plant your seedlings as to not have only one large crop, but be able to enjoy your harvest for weeks to come. Stagger your planting and plant small batches at a time.
They won’t take up too much space in the garden so you’ll have the space. Ideally, you can plant a new batch every two weeks until the end of season to really extend your harvest and enjoy romaine lettuce for months!
When planting into the ground, carefully disperse the seeds very thinly into rows. This may be the most difficult part of the whole process so take your time and make sure you are spreading them thin.
Once complete, sprinkle a little soil over the top to lightly cover. I always saw my grandmother put newspaper over the top of hers, I still don’t know if it did anything more or less but there you go. Give them room as well.
They will need a lot of space for their roots to spread and allow them to drink up lots and lots of water.
Water, and Water More
As I just mentioned in the previous paragraph, water is king here. Remember lettuce is about 95% water, which means it likes a lot of moisture. With that, growing it requires a lot of water.
Keep them planted in nicely fertilized soil and water often. They will grow quickly. Romaine is ready to harvest in 65-70 days. Keep them well watered, or they will wilt quickly and dehydrate.
Give them a little room to themselves when planting as well. You don’t want them to have to compete with other plants for hydration. It’s also worth watering the leaves and not just the roots. You may have to adjust your irrigation system, or manually give them a little spray from time to time.
When the plant is big enough to your liking, the lettuce can be harvested. Most folks pick the outer leaves to allow the inner heads to continue to develop. Depending how long your season is before the first frost, extend the life of that baby as long as you can!
I like to stack the harvesting process. To stack the harvest of your romaine plants, harvest one or two plants at a time. This way, you will have more to enjoy longer without interruption. Meanwhile, you will allow the other plants to continue to maturity.
Then, when you need to harvest again, you will go to the plants that have not yet been cut, leaving alone the ones you picked last time. Then continue to alternate in an ongoing cycle to continue your lettuce garden.