New Idea for growing lettuces

dfaustclancyMarch 16, 2014

I am so excited about this cool new way (to me it's new) to grow stuff, weed free and at waist height, making gardening that much more accessible. Check out this photo and then how to do this....

Here are the instructions: This worked well for me for many years - it's a simple, weed-free way to grow lettuce, spinach and even radishes. Take a 2 cubic feet bag of potting soil (I used Miracle Grow), rumple it around quite a bit to loose the soil, poke quite a few holes in the back side for drainage, then lay the bag on a smooth surface that will allow drainage and not get too hot, and cut out the top, leaving about a 4 or 5 inch border all around. Lightly rake through the soil to even it out and loosen it even more, then carefully, and evenly sprinkle the seeds around. I put my salad green seeds in an old spice bottle with large shaker holes, added some cornmeal, shook it all up to mix well and sprinkled them out of it. I put the cornmeal in there to allow me to see that I had covered the soil evenly. If doing radish seeds or spinach, just make lines the depth mentioned on the seed pack, plant the seeds and cover appropriately. For salad greens I sprinkled a lite covering of soil over the cornmeal and seeds and then spray-misted to water them in. I put my bags on metal sawhorses and grates to make them waist level. This kept the bags off the hot concrete and I didn't have to bend over when cutting my salad. When harvesting, just use a pair of scissors and cut what you need - don't pull the plants out. Same goes for spinach - they will grow back almost magically overnight, and you can't tell where you cut. Spray mist the seeds and plantlings at first when watering, until they are established, then you can water more vigorously as the plants mature. You will probably need to water more often, since the depth of the bags are not as deep as a regular in-ground garden. I just kept mine moist, but not sopping wet.

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muffin1358(6/MA)

I love it!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 1:19PM
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vegpatch(5 Colo)

Seems it might work for dwarf carrots as well. H'mm...

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 1:28PM
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diggerdee

I've actually seen where folks grow tomatoes and other larger plants like this, albeit on the ground. I wonder if having the bags on the ground makes a difference for those larger plants - it would seem to me the roots would need more soil and maybe they make their way down into the ground...?

Never thought of adapting it to a waist-level thing. Interesting!

Dee

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 4:30PM
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Persimmons(6b Southern Mass)

very practical method and I'd be interested in trying it this year with some lettuce and mache!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 10:18PM
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siennact

That is awesome!!! Wonder if I can make room for something like this in the yard this year. Thanks for sharing it!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 7:44AM
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diggingthedirt

I read that this is more or less how the big growers produce the baby lettuce that's sold in bags/boxes in the supermarkets. Not the bag of soil part, but a shallow tray filled with compost and soil. Makes it easy to harvest, because it's at a convenient height for cutting the leaves without heavy machinery, which would damage the tender leaves.

The people who came up with the idea wanted to produce baby lettuce leaves organically; the retail companies liked the idea of the tiny leaves, but didn't think anyone would want the product if it was labeled 'organic' - so it was sold without that designation at first.

I think this was written up in Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma. If you haven't read it, it's really worth a look - a good read and an eye-opener, for me, anyway.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 9:39PM
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