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How Do I Grow Iceberg Lettuce?

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  • Written By: Kaiser Castro
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 29 August 2016
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To grow iceberg lettuce, you may want to select a hardy variety that can withstand the outside elements. Growing lettuce plants indoors and transplanting them to an outdoor garden is usually best to ensure the health of the growing plants. Getting the plants used to outside aggressors is also a step that needs to be taken into account. To grow iceberg lettuce, you will need to properly prepare the soil, occasionally fertilize the growing plant, and protect it from rabbits and other vermin.

There are many iceberg lettuce varieties to choose from, with the Lakeland, Miluna, and the Pablo lettuce varieties noted as easy growers. To start the indoor planting process, fill a seed tray with damp compost. Adult lettuce plants are hardy, but germinating plants tend to be delicate and susceptible to rot and diseases. It's usually best to cover the seed tray with a plastic film to help regulate humidity. The seeds will typically germinate in about 10 days.

To successfully grow iceberg lettuce, you will need to acclimate the seedlings to the outside elements. This can help strengthen the walls of the lettuce leaves, reducing the chance of transplant shock or stunted growth. The seed tray should be placed outside in a shaded area for three to four hours each day, gradually increasing this time over the next week. Secure the growing plants indoors at night. After seven days of this process, the plant will usually be ready to be transplanted into your garden.

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Prepare the ground before planting the lettuce seedlings. Lightly rake the soil in a shaded area in your garden and lay out a thin layer of organic matter to enrich the soil. Gently remove the lettuce plants from the seed tray, and plant them in the ground, making sure to space them about 12 inches (about 30 cm) apart. Lightly pack the soil around each seedling. Apply a light layer of mulch and spray the patch of land with water.

Be diligent of weeds and make sure to remove them by pulling them out by the root. If rabbits are a pest in your area, then install a rabbit fence around the perimeter of your lettuce patch. Occasionally spray the growing plants with a fertilizer. To grow iceberg lettuce, always make sure that the soil is constantly moist but never overly wet, which can cause the roots to rot. The plant will mature in about 90 days.

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