Three easy steps to grow your own lettuce container garden

Lettuce be grateful for the bounties of the earth by growing our own veggies this Spring. Garden to table salads couldn't be an easier way to begin. Looking for a place to start? Take these three steps and you'll be on your way to growing your own nutritional salad base in just a few hours. 

Step 1. Lettuce plants have shallow roots so you don't have to go big when you go home with a container in this case. Choose a pot that's wide and shallow (about six inches deep) with drainage holes. Any material will do. While you're collecting your supplies, decide on whether you're going to want to take a little shortcut by purchasing seedlings or if you want to save a little cash and start your own seed. Purchase a soil mix rich in organic matter.

Step 2. Once you arrive back home. Place the soil mix in the container of your choice. If you're sowing your own seed, feel free to scatter the contents of the package fairly densely. Once the plants begin to grow, you'll be able to thin them out as you pick the baby leaves regularly for consumption. Otherwise, plant your individual lettuce seedlings about four to six inches apart. Space them according to the type of lettuce you've purchased. Larger leafed lettuces should be spaced a bit further apart. If you're working with head lettuce, you'll need to space a little further apart and plant a little deeper (about eight inches). 

Step 3. Now that you've got your plants ready-to-go, place them where they'll receive a few hours of morning sun. Lettuces fair best in the milder season so they can be sensitive to heat. Since you're using a fairly shallow pot, you'll want to keep an eye on the moisture of the soil. Shallow containers may dry out a bit more quickly. Soil should be moist but not excessively wet. Lettuce matures rapidly so wait a couple weeks before fertilizing with a 10-10-10 so that they can establish their root system first.  Read the seed packet or seedling tag to be sure you know the mature leaf height for that particular type of lettuce. Harvest by cutting leaves from the outside in as they reach maturity or your personal preferred size while allowing the center leaves to continue growing. Bring your first harvest in. Rinse. And enjoy!