How to Grow an Indoor Salad
Do you need a creative idea for a client’s indoor dining space? Perhaps it is an employee lunch room, executive dining area or even restaurant clientele.
Consider growing decorative lettuce in a small tabletop container. Lettuce has unique foliage ranging in color from bright green to deep bronze. Their are a myriad of varieties and most will grow well in cool, sunny indoor spaces.
Guide to Houseplants points out that there are four lettuce types; butterhead, crisphead, cos or romaine (upright), and loose leaf. Loose leaf or small varieties of upright are the best to grow indoors. Loose leaf also provides a large array of color and form. Here are some of the most common loose leaf varieties mentioned by The Huffington Post: Red and green leaf lettuce have beautiful, frilled tops and a deep bronze color in the red leaf lettuce. Oak leaf lettuce also comes in red or green. True to its name the leaves resemble ruffled oak leaves. Mizuna has dark green leaves that are long and narrow with deep pointy lobes. Arugula appears similar to spinach, with green round leaves.
Start from Seed
The lettuce can be started from seed in small plastic containers. The National Gardening Association recommends using a soilless potting mix specific for starting seeds and a plastic container with plenty of drainage holes. The seeds should be sown on top of the potting medium and just barely covered with a bit of soil. Once the seedlings grow to be a few inches tall you can move them to pots that are 4-6 inches in diameter.
One specific demand that lettuce has is plenty of light. The light should be very close to the seedlings when they are first developing and available for 14 hours a day. A bright sunroom will work as will artificial grow lights. Once the seedlings have been transplanted make sure they are near a bright window or consistently under florescent light.
Lettuce will reach maturity in about 60 days. The plant will eventually either bolt or become woody. If you intended to eat the plant, it must be harvested before it reaches this point. In order to have continual healthy looking greens plant seedlings in timed intervals. When one lettuce plant is spent simply replace it with a new healthy looking plant.
You can place several 4 inch pots with lettuce in a large basket. Or, bunch several varieties of lettuce together in a wooden crate. Use a rectangular windowsill container to place varieties of loose leaf lettuce together. Small tabletop containers can also hold one or two lettuce plants. These could be ideal centerpieces. Consider pairing lettuce with other ornamentals such as ornamental kale or cabbage.
Lettuce All Year
Lettuce can be fun to grow indoors. It will bring a crisp freshness to any dining area. Remember that lettuce can be particular. Be sure it has plenty of light, at least 14 hours a day when it is a seedling. Also, make sure that temperatures stay between 60 and 70 degrees. With a few precautions and staggered seedings your clients can enjoy the look and taste of lettuce all year.
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