If you live in an apartment or high-rise and don't have access to gardening space, you may think your only option for obtaining fresh lettuce is at the local market. Think again! You can grow homegrown salad greens in the same amount of space as a spider plant or philodendron. The secret is cultivating lettuce in hanging baskets.
Hanging Container Lettuce
Hanging basket lettuce makes an attractive accent to any home or office and takes up virtually no floor space. All you need for growing hanging lettuce is a sunny balcony or southern facing window that receives six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. This method also works great for gardeners searching for an easy way to grow slug free greens.
How to Make a Hanging Lettuce Basket
To grow lettuce in hanging baskets you'll need to gather a few supplies:
- Hanging basket – To create an attractive “globe of leaves,” choose a wire type basket where the lettuce can be planted down the sides as well as on top.
- Coco coir liner – Made from coconut hulls, these liners retain both soil and moisture.
- Quality potting soil – Choose a potting soil with vermiculite or perlite to aid with moisture retention.
- Lettuce seedlings – Purchase seedlings at your local nursery or start your own seeds in plastic bags. Select a mixture of lettuce varieties to add visual appeal to the hanging basket and your salad plate.
Assembling a Hanging Basket Lettuce Container
Once you have your supplies, follow these simple instructions to plant hanging basket lettuce:
Place the coir liner in the wire basket. If the liner is too large, trim off any excess which extends above the top rim of the basket. Remove the chains to make it easier to plant the hanging container lettuce.
Put 2 inches (5 cm.) of potting soil in the bottom of the basket. If the basket won't stand on its own, make it less tipsy by placing it inside a bucket or stock pot while you work.
Plant a layer of lettuce seedlings. Use sharp scissors to slice a small hole through the coir liner directly above the soil line in the pot. Carefully insert the roots of the lettuce plant through the hole. Add a handful of potting soil to secure the seedling. Continue planting several more seedlings around the basket at the same level.
Alternate dirt with lettuce seedlings. Add another 2 inches (5 cm.) of potting soil, then plant more lettuce seedlings at this new level. Stagger each row so the seedlings are not directly above the lower row of plants. Continue until you have reached the top of the planter.
Plant several seedlings in the top of the hanging basket. (Note: you can choose to simply plant your lettuce in this top level only. Planting along the sides or in alternating levels is up to you but will produce a fuller looking basket.)
Next, replace the chains and water thoroughly. Hang the planter in a sunny location and keep the soil moist. Once the leaves reach usable size, you can begin harvesting your homegrown hanging basket lettuce!
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Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.
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