It may seem a little ridiculous to decide to grow your own lettuce. Go to any grocery store and you can actually buy bags of specific varieties of lettuce intended for specific types of salads. Everything is done for you: the harvesting, the chopping and it even comes with a packet of appropriate dressing. So then why would anyone want to put up with the headache of having to actually raise their own lettuce, protect it from weather and bugs and critters, pick it from the garden and cut it into the same strips you can buy for relatively inexpensive prices down to the market? Crazy, right? Sure…unless you have ever actually tasted fresh lettuce that was sitting in someone’s garden earlier that day.
You don’t need an expert opinion to learn that lettuce is one incredibly moist vegetable. The very same moisture that is produced when you slice through the rarity of a perfectly ripe head of lettuce purchased at the market should give you an indication of how thirsty lettuce can get in the growing process. Lettuce that is not receiving adequate amounts of water is usually nice enough to give you a sign. If the leaves begin to turn yellow, then too much water is being allowed to drain away. You can either increase the amount of water your lettuce receives or give it a quick feeding with 15-10-10 fertilizer to make sure it retains those nutrients that water drainage is taking away.
Whoever long ago made the decision that cartoon rabbits should always be crazy for carrots must not have gotten the memo. You may very well be able to get away with growing carrots in your garden without ever once being bugged by a bunny, but just try growing lettuce without a damaging visit from our small furry ally. You can expend a lot of effort putting up a rabbit-proof fence that may or may not actually be rabbit-proof or you can add some marigolds in among your lettuce crop. The result will be a win-win situation. You win first of all by effective repelling the rabbits. You also win because marigolds never made anyone’s garden uglier.
The whole point of deciding to grow your own lettuce instead of taking the easy way out and buying that pre-packaged stuff sold at the grocery store is to experience something that increasingly few Americans have ever known: genuinely fresh lettuce that manages to be both crisp and moist. Just about any time you harvest your own homegrown lettuce, it is going to be noticeably fresher than anything bought at the store. If you want to experience lettuce at its peak of crispness, however, head out to your garden in the morning and eat what you pick that very day. That singular experience answers the question of why you want to bother with growing your own lettuce.