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How to Fertilize Lettuce plants for the best crops this season

Wondering how and when you should fertilize your lettuce plants for the best crops this season? Learn the step-by-step directions here!
checking on lettuce..READ THE FULL STORY HERE▶▶▶

Lettuce is a popular plant, both in the garden and in the kitchen. From salads to sandwiches and everything in between, lettuce proves itself to be essential in the kitchen. Unlike most veggies, you do not need to harvest all of your lettuce at once, making it a long-lasting addition to your garden.

Knowing how and when to fertilize lettuce requires time and attention, but properly applying the right kind of fertilizer to your lettuce plants is essential if you want to see fresh, vibrant leafy greens throughout the growing season.

Learn all the best tips and tricks to properly apply fertilizer to your lettuce plants, and learn to look for signs of over-fertilizing to ensure the best for your yard’s leafy greens.
making fertilizer for plants

Before you can begin fertilizing your lettuce plants, you will need a few tools.

Gardening gloves
Hand trowel
Well-draining soil
pH and nutrient test kit
Balanced fertilizer
Manure or compost

How to Fertilize Lettuce

With the right tools in tow, learn when and how to fertilize lettuce properly.

Step 1: Site Selection and Soil
lettuce seedling in soil

Site selection plays a large role in the health of lettuce plants. Choose a sunny location with organically rich, well-draining soil in temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit (seed germination requires temperatures of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit).

The ideal soil pH for lettuce is 6.0, though soils with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8 will work. To increase soil acidity, mix 2 pounds of fertilizer per 100 square feet into the top 6 inches of soil, or apply 1 inch of compost per 100 square feet of the garden. If the soil is too acidic, amend it using a neutralizer such as limestone, baking soda, or wood ash about three months before planting.

Step 2: Choosing the Best Fertilizer
hand holding soil

Nitrogen is essential in producing high-quality, dark-green lettuce, so a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, or a fertilizer with an N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) balance of 5-10-5, 5-10-10, 8-16-16, and 12-12-12 will work best.

Organic materials such as compost and manure are also good for adding nutrients, increasing drainage, and adjusting soil pH. Using both chemical and organic materials together often provides the best growth as they increase soil fertility.

Aside from testing soil pH for making necessary adjustments, knowing how to spot symptoms of deficiencies can help determine what type of fertilizer you need.

Nitrogen deficiency: growth is stunted, and plants appear lighter green than expected for the specific variety. Older leaves will start to turn yellow, followed by leaf tip death and leaves falling off or getting tougher.

Phosphorous deficiency: plants appear darker green than expected with reduced growth. Older, lower leaves develop brown spots and dead patches, and leaf margins, lower leaves, and stems could develop a purple hue. Older leaves may die off, and the plant may stop growing.

Potassium deficiency: leaves are small and dark green, and the plant appears compact. Foliage suffers necrosis with a scorched appearance, and leaves will curl downwards.

Never use fertilizer containing weed killer as it can kill or damage your crops.

Step 3: Application
Planting lettuce in a garden

Fertilize lettuce immediately after planting, unless you have already applied fertilizer or organic matter when preparing the soil. Apply 3 to 4 pounds of fertilizer per 100 square feet. Once the plants reach about 4 inches in height, apply 2 pounds of fertilizer per 100 square feet. Continue to apply light but frequent applications of fertilizer, applying 2 pounds per 100 square feet as a side dressing each month during the growing season (spring and fall).

To side dress, make 1 to 2-inch grooves around the shoulders of the garden bed, about 4 to 6 inches away from the base of the lettuce plants, and add the fertilizer. Replace the soil and water the plants. Always take a soil test to be sure application is necessary.

Signs of Over-Fertilizing

Fertilizing is a great way to provide nutrients to your plants, but too much can be detrimental to their health. Watching for signs of over-fertilizing ensures you can make adjustments before it is too late.​​​​​​ Signs of over-fertilizing include salt build-up on the soil surface, yellowing leaves, stunted growth, leaf drop, and browning leaf edges.

Prevent fertilizer burn by applying the fertilizer 4 to 6 inches away from the base of the plants, and always test the soil pH before application.
Romaine Calm and Fertilize!

Most vegetables, including lettuce, require fertilizer for optimal growth. Organic materials and inorganic chemicals increase soil fertility, feeding the plants with the nutrients they need to grow. Lettuce thrives in full sunlight in fertile, well-draining soil with a pH of 6.0. Always test the soil before fertilizer application, applying light but frequent side dressings of compost and fertilizer. Watch out for signs of over-fertilizing, such as yellow leaves, leaf drops, and stunted growth, to make sure you are not overdoing it.

Do you know anyone who is growing lettuce plants this year? Share this guide to lend a helping hand!

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