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You can grow free lettuce in your kitchen
This is a fun way to get free food and brings several environmental and other advantages:
- it provides you with the freshest possible food
- it provides you with free food!
- producing at home means no carbon-emissions from food miles
- producing at home means no plastic packaging
- kids love to see things growing naturally
- it stimulates their interest in natural things and sustainable activities
- it adds greenery to your home!
What to do
Firstly you’ll need the lettuce “cutting” to start things off. All you need to do is cut the leaves an inch from the bottom and keep the remaining stem.
Not all varieties do well with being regrown, but it’s worth trying any because you’ve already paid for the food so you have nothing to lose. Once you’ve found one that works well in your climate and home, you can regrow it again and again.
Growing lettuce in water
It’s really simple regrowing lettuce indoors using only a small bowl of water and a lettuce stem. Water propagation needs no intervention once you’ve set it up, apart from changing or topping up the water.
Take your used lettuce and cut off the leaves about an inch from the bottom. Then take a shallow bowl of water (about a half inch of water) and put the stem in, standing it upright. You don’t need a very large bowl, slightly bigger than the width of the stem will do.
Put the bowl on a sunny windowsill and then just wait patiently! In about two weeks, your lettuce cutting will be ready to eat. All you need to do during this time is change the water every day to make sure nothing fouls it and to replace that absorbed by your plant, or that has evaporated.
Tip: Eat your lettuce as soon as it’s ready and looking fresh because after that stage the plant will quickly “go to seed” and taste bitter.
Growing lettuce in soil
If you wish and you have the space you can take any cuttings you grow using the water method and move them into pots of soil. With this method you can keep your indoor garden going all year round.
Drainage is very important for the overall health of your lettuce, so be sure to use pots with drainage holes and sit them in trays. General potting compost mixes work well – use with a little gravel in the bottom of your pot to prevent roots from sitting in still water.
Once you have your lettuce cuttings in their well-drained pots, you just need to put them in a sunny windowsill to finish growing and water them once a day as leafy veggies like these are quite thirsty. Every one or two weeks, or whenever you need an extra handful of greens, you can harvest the lettuce. As long as you keep taking care of the plant, you can harvest a single lettuce that’s grown in soil several times.
Try regrowing lettuce and other simple vegetables, and involve your children too, they love to see things grow!