Lettuce has long been one of the most common staples in the vegetable garden. In addition to the quality taste when picked fresh, lettuce is also a great option for first-time growers or for those wishing to grow their own produce without access to adequate garden space. The combination of its quick growth habit, compact size, and ability to grow in a wide range of conditions makes lettuce an easy choice. Some varieties, such as Tom Thumb, are specifically suited for growth in containers, grow bags, and raised beds, making even more great options for small space gardeners.
Tom Thumb Lettuce Facts
Tom Thumb lettuce plants are a unique variety of butterhead or bibb lettuce. These plants produce crisp buttery leaves which form a loose head. Reaching maturity in around 45 days, the most unique characteristic of these plants is their diminutive size. Small 4- to 5-inch (10-15 cm.) plants are perfect for a wide range of garden applications, including its use as a ‘single serving’ salad.
Growing lettuce, Tom Thumb specifically, is quite the popular choice among gardeners for container plantings, as well as for its use interplanted with various other cool season crops.
Growing Tom Thumb Lettuce Plants
The process of growing Tom Thumb lettuce is very similar to growing other varieties of lettuce. First, growers will need to determine when it is best to plant the seeds. Since lettuce plants flourish when grown in cooler temperatures, planting most often occurs early in the spring and into the fall in successions.
Spring sowing generally takes place around one month before the last predicted frost date. While it is possible to sow lettuce seeds indoors, most gardeners choose to direct sow the seeds into well amended soil. To direct sow Tom Thumb lettuce seeds, select a well-draining location that receives direct sunlight.
Whether planting into the ground or into prepared containers, keep lettuce seeds moist until germination occurs within 7-10 days. Plants may be spaced according to seed packet recommendations or sown intensively for more frequent harvests.
Once established, Tom Thumb lettuce care is relatively simple. Plants will benefit from frequent watering and rich soil. Frequent monitoring for damage from pests, such as slugs and snails, will be imperative due to this plant’s small size.
Harvests can be made by removing a few leaves from each plant, or by cutting the entire lettuce plant and removing it from the garden.