It is very rare to get around the transplanting procedure when growing lettuce. This essential operation provides cramped plants with added strength by correcting possible growth deficiencies. On one hand, this allows the gardener to obtain quality plantlets to plant in-ground while, on the other, the quality of the transplanted seedlings is better than that of those which  have not benefited from such treatment.

Sown by gardeners or supplied by professionals, lettuce seedlings need to be transplanted to give them added vigour and to air out the garden. Like many other plants, lettuce need to be replanted for harmonious growth. This important step of in their cultivation is almost inevitable at the risk of poor yield due to damping-off, among other things. This term is used for a number of fungus-caused ailments mainly induced by the proximity between seedlings that have a strong lack of light. Transplanting thus airs out the plants, which in turn allows them to breathe properly. The appearance of roots grouped in clumps is particularly resolved by transplanting procedures. Allowing the neck to be flush with the ground without being buried is another advantage of transplanting, on top of which this gives added vigour to the plant.

Why and when to transplant lettuce?

Transplanting lettuce allows the seedlings to be aired out, giving them the opportunity to strengthen themselves more easily. Indeed, the plantation is not always planned out in compliance with the thinning of seedlings. When this is the case, the plants tend to become cramped within a few weeks, hindering each other’s growth. It is therefore important to move some of them and replant them on a plot of land nearby that will have been previously well-ploughed.¬† Transplanting especially pertains to lettuce seedlings grown in nurseries, as they require in-ground planting to achieve their growth. The growth of lettuce will thus be improved, ensuring a good yield and an acceptable harvest.

How to transplant lettuce?

Lettuce plants that need transplanting essentially either come from home-made nurseries or are produced by experienced gardeners. Perennial seedlings obtained after a thinning procedure are also very good to replant. Lettuce seedlings are transplanted on land that has previously been ploughed and cleared by respecting a minimum distance of 14 inches (35 cm) between plants. To do so, dig a hole roughly 6 inches (15 cm) deep, insert the plant and pack the earth around its base while ensuring that the neck is not buried and that the cotyledons are laying on the ground. Although essential, regular watering should be done with great delicacy, so as not to move or damage the fragile seedlings still weakened by the stopping of the vegetation. During the transplant, a few bean seedlings can be inserted next to the lettuce.

Some tips on transplanting lettuce

Some associations with other plants are beneficial to lettuce seedlings. For example, if they were replanted between cabbage seedlings, lettuce plantlets will benefit from some shade, which is very helpful to their growth. Having chervil between your lettuce seedlings grants them protection against insect attacks, slugs and certain diseases. In hot weather, placing pots on top of the transplanted lettuce seedlings improves their growth resumption and protects them from ravages caused by birds.

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Published in Green vegetables by Alexander on 14 Sep 2011