If you are thinking about starting your own lettuce farm, you should know details of the method, including about how much water does lettuce need.
Don’t you love the crunchiness of this veggie in your meal?
As a cool season crop, the plant will grow well in spring and even fall.
It’s one of the best leafy greens, for both types of beginner and advanced growers.
It can produce for long period of time, it isn’t demanding, and it grows quickly. It also grows well indoor and outdoor; in containers and raised beds.
It doesn’t even matter if you have small spaces as the plant will do just perfectly!
What Type of Soil Does Lettuce Need
When you want to grow your own lettuce farm, you need to consider the soil first.
After all, it’s the medium to grow your plant. Without it, you won’t have any plant at all!
When it comes to lettuce, there are so many different variants that are pretty easy to grow. They are disease and pest free. They can be highly productive despite the limited space. They are also easy to grow.
To ensure your success in growing the lettuce, not only you need to consider about how much water does lettuce need, but you must also consider the site.
You want to pick a place where the soil can drain well, and at the same time, able to retain some moisture. The soil itself should be rich in potassium and nitrogen.
Can you use organic matter? Be my guest! Such an arrangement is possible with leaf mold, rotted manure, or compost. They will enrich and loosen the soil. Make sure that the pH balance is between 6.0 and 6.8.
Most of the varieties need around 45 days to 55 days.
Can you plant two crops together? Please do! Varieties like Butterhead and Looseleaf can be harvested any time, during their development. Heading varieties, however, may take longer time.
Crisphead needs 70 days to 100 days, while the Romaine takes 75 days to 85 days.
So, the key to successful harvest in lettuce is about the soil. It should be able to drain well with good pH level. It should be able to maintain moisture and it should contain rich nutrients, such as potassium and nitrogen.
How Much Water Does Lettuce Need in ml
As it was mentioned before, lettuce is a cool season crop that can produce fast if you do it right.
When we are talking about how much water does lettuce need in details, there are several possible answers that you may find.
For a starter, lettuce needs around 2 to 3 ml per ha per season. When the growing season takes place in summer time, more water would be needed than winter or fall period.
When we are talking about inches of water of water requirements, then it needs around an inch of water (or around 27.225 gallons) a week per acre.
If you grow the lettuce in windy areas, the plant will need more water.
But instead of getting into technical details so much, why not we understand how to plant the lettuce properly with methods that we can understand better?
You see, all plants have their own irrigation requirements and methods. Lettuce is the same.
If you want to produce sweet and succulent crop, make sure that you hydrate it sufficiently.
And since lettuce’s life cycle is pretty short, it means that constant moisture is always needed to prevent bolting and to make the leaves tender.
So, how much water does lettuce need?Light watering regularly will encourage the growth while maintaining it in its best condition (sweet, succulent, fresh).
The seeds are generally tiny. They should be shallowly sown (at only 1/8 inch in depth). Because of this condition, there is always a risk of dislodging during the watering system.
The best thing to do is to keep it light and gentle.
Watering the lettuce shouldn’t be done in a matter of day, but it depends on the moisture level of the soil.
So, it’s not about watering it every day, but when the plant needs it.
Instead of using the water or garden hose (or even watering can), use spray bottle to water the plant. It creates much stronger, and yet safer, water stream.
Check for the soil. If it feels dry, then water it. You don’t want to have lack of water, because it will lead to lettuce failure.
But you don’t want to have excessive or too much water either because it can lead to mold and plant rot. Excessive water (which results in sopping wet soil) may drown the seeds.
Look for your lettuce plants and seek for signs if they need water. When it’s hot, you may want to water it more often than the usual. If you see wilting leaves, sprinkle your lettuce, even during the day’s heat. It will cool them off.
If you can provide shade for your lettuce, it’s even better!
Some farmers use organic mulch because it is helpful in many ways. It suppresses weeds. It helps to conserve moisture. It keeps the soil cool even during warmer months.
How Much Sun Does Lettuce Need
Just like other plants, lettuce plants need sun exposure. Lettuce can grow well in full sun; in fact, it can grow the quickest.
However, the plant doesn’t mind some shade either. Lettuce can even last longer if you can provide enough shade.
So, if you plant it in a well-drained, fertile, and moist soil and you make sure that it gets enough sunlight, you should be able to see your harvest soon enough.
In general, the lettuce needs at least 6 hours of sun exposure. In some areas, you may expose it in sunlight for 12 hours. It depends on the area, the weather, and the climate really.
If you live in a relatively hot and dry area, then 6 hours may be enough. Sunlight exposure is pretty flexible in this case.
Also read: How to Harvest Lettuce Continuously
Do Lettuce Need a Lot of Water?
Here’s the thing you need to understand about lettuce: It needs moderate, but constant, water supply.
Some guides may tell you that lettuce only needs watering once a week, or once every 5 to 6 days. It may be true, but you need to understand your own lettuce plants’ characteristics.
Does your area get regular rainfall? If yes, you may not need to water it quite often.
Do you experience drought often? If yes, then you may have to water the lettuce more often.
Do you provide mulch for your lettuce? If not, then you will have to water it more.
So, when it comes to how much water does lettuce need, it depends on the conditions of the area and how you treat your plants; as explained in the above sections.
How Often to Water Lettuce Indoors
How much water does lettuce need indoor? Basically, water requirement indoor or outdoor is basically the same.
However, water evaporates more quickly in the outdoor setting because it’s hotter.
Again, you may want to check for your plants before watering them.
Lettuce can be planted in peat pots. Just make sure that you provide enough water and light, and you are good to go.
Here’s how you can check whether your plant needs watering or not: Stick your finger into the ground (around an inch) that is close to the lettuce plant.
It the earth sticks to your fingers and it feels moist, then the soil is still damp. You don’t need to water it just yet. But if it feels dry and there is no earth sticking to the finger, then it’s time to water it.
How Often to Water Lettuce in Containers
The rule of thumb of growing lettuce in containers is basically the same as other.
You need to make sure that there is enough space for the lettuce to grow and develop.
Some people say that they can grow lettuce in a cup, but don’t you feel sorry for the plant? Lettuce seeds are small.
But once they grow leaf and develop, they can be quite big, especially for head lettuce variants.
Some lettuce growers may use cups to prepare for lettuce seeds starting. They do it indoor before transplanting them to the garden bed later.
So, the cups can be handy for seedlings preparation, but not entirely advisable for growing a whole plant – from the seed to the mature plant.
Most lettuce farmers, however, may produce container-grown lettuce during winter months of overly hot summer time. It’s possible to do it if the farmers believe that the outdoor plants won’t make it.
So, even if you grow your lettuce in containers, make sure that the soil is rich in nutrients and it drains well.
If it is still moist and damp, then you don’t need to water it.
Make sure that the containers get enough of light. You can place the containers in places where sunray can reach inside of the house in the most potential manner, or you can use a special growing light.
How Much Water Does Hydroponic Lettuce Need
Lettuce is a naturally fast growing plant, but when you grow hydroponic lettuce, it’s like growing them in a super fast manner. Why can it happen?
Well, hydroponic system is a super efficient and controlled system so your plants (whatever they are) are (mostly) guaranteed to get the best nutrients and care, resulting in the best outcome.
So, if you are thinking about growing Romain or Butterhead, they would be ready in 3 to 4 weeks only.
The sturdier types, such as Iceberg, will be ready in 6 weeks – 8 weeks, top. That’s impressive, huh?
In general, hydroponic lettuce may need 10 hours to 12 hours of sun exposure. Of course, you can tweak it up, depending on your needs.
What about the watering system? How much water does lettuce need? Well, the previous rule still applies – make sure that you water the plant if the soil is dry.
However, for the hydroponic method, the best system would be the drip system. It provides regular and gentle irrigation.
Your plant should have enough moisture, but not excessive to the point of flooding it out. It can be adjusted to any space and size. It is pretty silent and it can recycle the (nutrient) solution quite efficiently.
There are several methods to consider, such as ebb and flow. It is great for big plants and big areas. It is set for outdoor use. But this method isn’t exactly suitable for indoor setting.
You can also consider aeroponics. It will provide excellent yield with healthy harvest. It’s because the system prevent pathogens from growing and spreading.
The system also uses less nutrient solution and water.
The downside is that it isn’t suitable for beginner growers. It’s not meant for outdoor setting. To maintain good condition within the vapor chamber is a challenge.
So, stick to the watering ‘regulations’ previously described if you have hydroponic lettuce.
Or if you want to use the drip system, you can always manage it in the most effective way possible.
Also read: 10 Benefits and How to Grow Watercress
Overall Basic Lettuce Planting Tips
Aside from knowing how much water does lettuce need, here are some general tips of growing the lettuce, and be successful in the end!
- Make sure to plant the seed within 1/8 to ¼ inch in depth because the seeds require light to germinate. Sowing them too deep may not cause them not to germinate well
- When the seedlings have 3 true leaves, or 4, you can thin them out
- When you transplant them, they should already have 4 mature leaves up to 6 leaves. Make sure that they already have well-developed and good root system before you move them to the garden
- During the transplanting time, water them thoroughly
- It would be a good idea to plant garlic or chives rows between the lettuce. They are barrier plants that can control aphids. After all, you can enjoy more harvest in the end!
- Different varieties have different space requirements. For instance, if you grow looseleaf lettuce, plant it to around 4 inches apart. If you have Butterhead or Romaine type, plant them to 8 inches. If you grow the Crisphead type, plant them to 16 inches.
All in all, growing lettuce isn’t difficult at all, as long as you pay attention to the basic concept.
Make sure that you provide enough water as well as light.
Once you have understood about how much water does lettuce need, you should be able to grow your lettuce plant and expect successful outcome.