How to Sow British Giant Iceberg Lettuce Seeds
A generational favourite in British culture, this vegetable thrives best in cooler climates. Originating from California, iceberg lettuce’s name comes from North American farmers who transported lettuces under a massive amount of ice, extending its shelf life. Initially known as crisphead lettuce, it’s an ideal starter vegetable for sowing and growing, either indoors or outdoors in vegetable patches and gardens. The fully mature plants produce large, crispy-headed lettuces, reaching 30-40cm in diameter. Ensure adequate spacing between plants for optimal growth. Harvesting can usually be done about 75 days after germination.
Growing British Giant Iceberg Lettuce from Seeds
- Sowing Period: Plant seeds between January and September for outdoor cultivation. Indoor sowing can be done year-round.
- Germination Temperature: Iceberg lettuce seeds typically germinate best at temperatures between 4°C to 16°C (40°F to 60°F). This cooler temperature range helps to stimulate germination.
- Growing Temperature: Once germinated, the growing plants prefer a slightly warmer range. Ideal daytime temperatures for growing Iceberg lettuce are between 16°C to 20°C (60°F to 68°F), while night temperatures should be around 4°C to 10°C (40°F to 50°F).
- Germination: After planting, expect germination within 7-10 days. For outdoor growing, the ideal sowing times are from early spring to late summer.
- Indoor Start: Begin by sowing seeds in medium-sized pots indoors. Transplant seedlings to their final outdoor location once they’ve established a robust root system.
- Seed Depth: Sow seeds approximately 1/8 inch deep in fresh compost or well-tilled garden soil. Choose a sunny location, as lettuce needs full sunlight for optimal growth.
- Succession Planting: Sow a few seeds every few weeks, starting early in the season, to ensure a continuous crop throughout the summer.
Caring For Iceberg Lettuce Through Growth Stages
- Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist. Lettuce is mainly water, so regular watering is crucial. Avoid letting the soil dry out completely.
- Pest Prevention: Growing lettuce under a wind tunnel can help protect it from pests. This method also ensures better air circulation, promoting healthy plant growth.
- Spacing: Space plants about 30-35 cm apart. This spacing allows each plant enough room to develop fully.
- Fertilization: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer after transplanting seedlings outdoors. This will provide essential nutrients for growth.
- Harvesting: Begin harvesting when the lettuce heads feel firm and have reached a diameter of 30-40 cm. Harvest in the morning when the leaves are most crisp.
- Post-Harvest Care: After harvesting, remove any leftover plant debris to prevent disease and pests. Prepare the soil for the next crop by adding compost or organic matter.