Seed Tube Vegetables - Lettuce Little Gem
Cos Lettuce ‘Little Gem’ is one of the earliest varieties to mature, producing small compact plants which are packed with a crisp, sweet heart. This RHS Award of Garden Merit cultivar grows well under cloches and also has excellent root aphid resistance making it a gardener’s favourite.
Direct sow lettuce seeds outdoors from March to August into well prepared, fertile, moist soil in sun or semi shade. Sow seeds thinly at a depth of 1cm in drills 30cm apart in soil which has been raked to a fine tilth. When large enough to handle, thin out seedlings to 23cm apart and cover with a protective netting or fleece to prevent attack from birds and insects. Make regular sowings for a constant supply.
Water lettuce frequently and hoe between plants regularly to prevent weeds from establishing. Dry weather may cause heads of lettuce plants to bolt so watering is particularly critical during the 2 weeks before harvesting. A thick mulch applied around the plants will help to retain moisture in the soil. Harvest lettuce when required by either pulling up the entire plant or cutting off the head at the base of the stem (this will produce new growth but may not form a crown) or simply removing the outer leaves.