Lettuce is the most popular of all salad vegetables and can be grown all year round in most gardens. There are many varieties available, ranging from the large, solid-hearting lettuce to the small mignonette, with its fine, soft textured leaves. Lettuce enjoys a soil rich in organic matter, with good water-holding capacity for constant moisture. It prefers a pH of 6.5, so add some lime to the soil before planting.
It is best to sow lettuce seed in their permanent positions in the garden because seedlings are very delicate. Thin them out to 25 to 30 cm apart when they're five cm high. For a continuous supply sow little and often. Mulch with hay or straw to conserve moisture. During hot summer weather avoid watering in the heat of the day to reduce the likelihood of internal slime. This condition makes the lettuce unsuitable for use while the outer leaves appear unaffected.
Brown mignonette are frost resistant, making them particularly useful in areas where occasional winter frosts occur.
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