Lettuce is a delicious leafy green that is perfect for salads or adding to sandwiches, burgers and more. While most people associate lettuce with large fields of lettuce heads, it is surprisingly easy to grow lettuce in a much smaller space–including a balcony! The following guide will help you learn how to grow lettuce right on your balcony.
Before Getting Started
The following is some essential information you need to know before you get started growing lettuce on the balcony.
- Climate: Lettuce requires moderately cool temperatures, as it is considered a cool weather crop. The best temperature for lettuce growth is between 55 to 65 degrees. Lettuce will flower once the temperature gets between 70 and 80 degrees, so make sure that the weather is cool enough to keep the lettuce from flowering. If you live in an area where the temperature gets much colder or much hotter than the recommended temperature, it’s best to pick another vegetable.
- Sunlight: Lettuce does best in full sunlight, with at least 5 hours of direct sunlight per day–but ideally more. Lettuce can do fairly well in partial shade, as long as it still receives at least 5 hours of direct sun.
- Planter: You’ll need containers that have lots of room for lettuce roots, so make sure the containers are at least 6 to 12 inches tall and can fit about a gallon of soil. The key to choosing a lettuce container is making sure it has excellent drainage.
- Indoors or Outdoors? You can definitely grow lettuce indoors, and it may be optimal if you live in an area where the temperature isn’t quite right for lettuce or you want to grow lettuce outside of a cooler season.
What You’ll Need
Here are the basic supplies you’ll need in order to grow lettuce on a balcony.
- Lettuce seeds
- Soil (potting soil is best)
- Planter/container with drainage holes
Step by Step Instructions
The following are step by step instructions to follow in order to grow lettuce.
1. Prepare your container
First, make sure your container has drainage holes. If it doesn’t, drill them before you continue. Then fell the container with your soil. Potting soil is ideal because lettuce grows better with nutrient-rich soil from the start.
2. Plant your seeds
Lettuce seeds should be planted about 1 inch down. The spacing will depend on the variety; most lettuce needs to be about 5-6 inches apart, if you’re planting more than one plant.
3. Water and maintain your plants
Lettuce should be watered every day lightly or every other day lightly for about 2 weeks. This will help your lettuce roots begin to develop.
The following are some key growing notes to keep in mind for your balcony lettuce.
- Water: Lettuce needs to be watered daily or every other day for the first two weeks after planting. After that, water your lettuce about every 4 to 5 days. Lettuce needs lots of moisture, but you don’t want to overdo it.
- Growth: Lettuce is fast-growing. Many lettuce varieties can be harvested as early as 4 weeks, while others may take 6 to 8 weeks.
- Maintenance: Lettuce can be given a nitrogen-rich fertilizer every 2 weeks so that they continue to develop new leaves for another harvest.