Welcome to my website in which I show you how I grow great organic vegies in a water conserving raised garden bed with the help of a built in worm farm and pest exclusion devices. I also show you how I rotate these vegies in a 4 year 4 bed cycle. Check out my website 'Gardening with Ecobeds' which shows you how Ecobeds are made and how they grow food without using poisonous chemicals....................John Ashworth 27th July 2015.
Latest Update 9th July 2016.
Red Iceberg Lettuce are fast growing and compact. They have a
crisp texture and taste great.
I have found them easy to grow
all year round in our climate, although they need protection from the sun to stop them bolting in summer.
They benefit from the protection of pest exclusion netting in the warmer months.
I use a mulch of clean straw to protect the lettuce leaves from bottom rot, which is usually caused by direct contact with moist soil.
Like most organically grown vegetables, lettuce is rich in vitamins, minerals and a great source of dietary fibre.
Its pretty fast growing and I use it as a catch crop growing it in any available space in any bed.
We always eat it fresh from the garden on salads, in sandwiches and in wraps.
They grow best in full sun in cooler months, but will grow well if shaded in the warmer months.
They need well structured rich organic soil.
The soil must be kept moist at all times.
Clear space for Lettuce in February. Add a 60mm layer of home made compost and cover with 50mm of straw mulch.
Leave the bed for 4
weeks to build up worm and microbial activity.
Sow Lettuce seeds sparsely (10-12 only) in January on the surface of an organic seed growing mix in a mini pot, and lightly cover with finely sieved growing mix.
the mini pot for an hour in a tray containing 10mm of water (preferably
rainwater). The water will wick up into the soil without flooding it.
Sink the mini pots up to their rims in a Propagator. This will
keep the mini pot's soil moist until the seedlings are ready to
4 weeks transplant the 5 strongest seedlings individually into jiffy pots filled with organic potting mix and return them to the Eco Propagator.
Take the pots out of the propagator when the seedlings are ready to transplant, and move the mulch to one side in the prepared bed. Plant the jiffy pots 300mm apart and water the seedlings in well.
Return the mulch as soon as the lettuce is
established. Push the straw under the leaves of the lettuces to help
protect them against lettuce bottom rot.
I grow lettuce wherever there is available space (its a perfect plant to fill vacant spaces), but most of the time I can find a full row to grow them in.
They are usually grown with brassicas, which need similar protection against strong sunlight in the summer. They are protected with light shadecloth right through the warmer months and heavy shadecloth is added in hot, dry, windy weather.
Apply a foliar spray of aerated compost tea every 4 weeks at the same time as all the other edible plants.
Repeated sowings can be made every month, and when ready the seedlings can be planted in gaps left by crops recently harvested. Make sure the soil in these gap has been properly prepared.
Harvesting and Storage.
be harvested all year.
Cut the heads off the Lettuce at ground level and allow the roots to decompose in the soil.
Lettuce does not
store well and should be eaten within a few days of its harvest.
Aerated compost tea foliar spray toughens foliage against whitefly damage.
any serious infestations by spray your crop thoroughly with organic horticultural oil (Eco-oil in Australia) as early in their life cycle as possible.
in a few days to ensure second generation whitefly do not survive.
Note Eco-oil smothers insects by blocking their breathing holes. It is not selective and will kill beneficial insects if care is not taken, so spray early in the morning and target the whitefly as exclusively as possibl