How to thin lettuce seedlings

fishacuraApril 29, 2011

All, I am new to this and have planted a vegetable box garden in my yard for the first time. I am growing some romain from seeds. The seed packed said to thin to 3-4 inches. Is this enough space in between plants to grow full heads? Just want to make sure I am understanding the terminology and wanted some advice also. I have 2 rows of seeds that are 5 feet long and about 18 inches apart.

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potterhead2(z5b NY)

Final spacing should be 12" apart in all directions. Since your rows are 18" apart, you can probably get away with 10" apart in the row.

You can keep them at 4" apart when they are little, but when they get a few inches tall and they start to fill in the area, thin them to one plant per 12". The thinnings will be a tender treat. Think of it as an early harvest.

I know it can be hard to pull perfectly healthy growing seedlings, we want them all to get a chance to grow to full size - but be firm! You will have much better results if the plants are not crowded.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 12:24PM
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Great question! I'll await an answer, also. I was planting my lettuce seeds and the wind picked up and sprayed seeds all over! Now I have tiny little lettuce seedlings EVERYWHERE...and I don't want to hurt them! :-)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 12:34PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Potterhead2's answer is very good. In addition to that, lettuce can be transplanted to better locations when it is 2 or 3 inches tall. That is the one reason I decided to start it in flats. I get nice uniform rows.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 2:11PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Well, romain doesn't really form "heads" It's a cut and come again type lettuce. I pick 2-3 leaves of each kind of lettuce for a salad for the 2 of us.
I just sprinkle my mesclun mix around the box I'm growing them in and thin them as they sprout if they are too close together.
I also sprinkle about every 3 weeks or so to keep it coming. You really don't need a lot to keep a couple of people in salad!
I'm planting my next "sprinkling" at the same time I'm planting my green beans, so once they sprout, they'll be shaded by the beans.
Have fun! Nancy

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 8:27PM
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Good to know. I just know what I buy in the store which is heads so this is great to know. THANKS!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 8:44AM
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Romaine will certainly form its characteristic heads if let to grow, but some people like to cut lettuce as it comes along, when the leaves are young.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 10:37AM
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RuthieG__TX(z8 TX)

I don't even worry about how close mine is. I sprinkle the seed in there thick and it grows just fine. In harvesting some get plucked and I pluck a few that are way too crowded but lettuce doesn't need a lot of room and I think it is a waste of space to do the rows with 12 or 18 inches between. If it's a wide open space it's an invite for a weed, I'd rather have lettuce.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 10:59AM
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