What’s the best high pressure hose nozzle for vegetable gardens? It’s actually a “horses for courses”…
So what is the best fertilizer for lettuce? One thing I remember clearly as a kid growing up watching my parents tend to their massive garden, was how good the lettuce crop always looked.
My mom would always tell me the secret was location, regular watering and fertilizer. That meant nothing to me back then but as I grew older, I figured it out.
The spot you plant lettuce should receive regular sun, watering, especially in the first two weeks of planting is crucial and fertilizing lettuce sensibly will achieve good growth results.
Lettuce can be planted in early spring or late summer. Depending where you live and if frosts are an issue, this is something you need to monitor.
Lettuce does best when it is fertilized with a balanced fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Nitrogen helps the plant to grow tall and leafy, phosphorus helps the plant to produce flowers and fruits, and potassium helps the plant to resist disease.
Lettuce prefers fertile, loamy soil and plenty of sunlight. The best fertilizer for lettuce is one that is high in nitrogen and potassium.
At the time of writing this, Greenway Biotech Inc. are selling a really popular lettuce fertilizer. It’s the 8-15-36 fertilizer and you can get it in different sizes.
My tip is if you are using a fertilizer that doesn’t harm your lettuce and you’re happy with it, keep using it.
Otherwise, give the Greenway Biotech Inc. product a trial.
The Best Fertilizer For Lettuce That I’ve Used
Before we look at the do’s and don’ts of fertilizing lettuce, I want to relate my experience as a youngster growing up on a farm.
My parents were expert gardeners. They ran two large vineyards but still managed to find plenty of time to service their gardens.
Lettuce was always a staple part of the landscape. All types of varieties. I learned a lot and my little garden benefitted from their experience.
What fertilizer did I use? You know, I never had to buy my fertilizer. We had hundreds of domesticated birds on our farm. We fed them well. What they discarded we used as fertilizer.
The result was a happy vegetable garden.
Yes, manure was the fertilizer I mainly used and wouldn’t use anything else. Below, I’ll list several fertilizers you may be able to use on your garden that you can produce from home.
How Many Nutrients Does A Lettuce Plant Need To Thrive?
Most plants need between 15-20 essential nutrients. I tried to get an exact number but it seems everyone has their own number between the range I’ve listed.
Having said that however, lettuce requires only three nutrients to grow well. This makes it easy to overfeed a plant.
When you feed a plant too much fertilizer, the leaves turn yellow because there are no chlorophyll pigments present.
Chlorophyll helps plants photosynthesize light energy into chemical energy. Without it, the plant cannot use sunlight to make food.
One of the reasons that hydroponics has become so popular is that a hydroponic nutrient solution contains all the essential nutrients required for a lettuce crop.
To ensure a balanced diet, there must be a balance between the amounts of each nutrient used. Too little of one nutrient and the plant won’t receive enough of another.
For example, too much nitrogen causes leaf burn. If the soil is rich in potassium, the roots will absorb it quickly. Potassium deficiency leads to stunted growth.
If you want to know how many pounds of lettuce you can produce per square foot here’s a neat calculation you can do.
Multiply the number of seeds planted by the length of the row divided by the width of the bed. Then divide the total by the number of days in the growing season.
What Makes A Good Fertilizer For Lettuce Growth?
A good quality fertilizer contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Nitrogen helps plants grow and develop roots; phosphorus promotes cell division and growth; and potassium encourages root development.
These three nutrients are often referred to as NPK because they work together synergistically.
Quality fertilizer spreads easily and dissolves quickly. If you apply too little fertilizer, it won’t penetrate the soil deeply enough to reach the plant roots. Too much fertilizer can cause leaves to turn yellow and wilt.
Good quality fertilizers shouldn’t contain harmful chemicals or additives. They’re free of phosphoric acid, sulfuric acid, formaldehyde, ammonia, urea, ammonium sulfate and sodium nitrate.
The best way to ensure that you buy a high quality fertilizer is to read the label carefully. Look for the following information:
NPK ratio – This indicates how many parts per million each nutrient makes up. For example, 10-20-10 fertilizer contains 20% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 10% potassium.
Percentage of active ingredients – This percentage tells you what proportion of the total weight of the product is actually active ingredient. So a product containing 30% active ingredient is twice as effective as one containing 15%.
The pH rating – This number indicates whether the fertilizer is acidic or alkaline. Most commercial products fall within a range of 6 to 8.5, although some fertilizers sold specifically for use with houseplants may have lower ranges.
The bottomline is, try to use organic or natural when you can. I know that those terms have been diluted a little in today’s environment but they still hold importance when choosing fertilizer that won’t harm you or your plants.
The Best Fertilizer For Lettuce?
I’ve already listed a fertilizer for lettuce you should consider using if you are having problems finding a good one.
It’s made by Greenway Biotech Inc.
Lettuce needs nutrients just like other crops do. But it doesn’t require much fertilizer to produce a great head of lettuce.
If you want to feed your lettuce well, start with a balanced fertilizer. This includes nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), sulfur (S), boron (B), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), zinc (Zn), iron (Fe), chlorine (Cl), and silicon (Si).
Apply fertilizer to lettuce by side dressings when the plants reach about three to four inches tall. You don’t need to use a lot of fertilizer; frequent light feeding works better than frequent heavy feeding.
I remember clearly in my younger days my parents telling me to ease up on fertilizing the lettuce too heavy. Yes, even too much manure can cause issues. I learnt the hard way after virtually burning my first ever lettuce crop. I’ve never ever over-fertilized again.
What Type Of Soil Does Lettuce Need?
I was always taught the better the soil, the better the produce. Makes sense right. Even if the soil you start with isn’t high quality, today, you can turn it into high quality.
Lettuce needs fertile, well drained soils rich in organic matter. Soil pH should be close to neutral. If you are growing lettuce in containers, use potting mix that contains peat moss. Peat moss helps retain moisture and nutrients.
In larger operations, commercial growers recommend applying anywhere from 250-500 lbs of fertilizer per acre. This obviously depends on the type of plants and condition of the soil. Don’t worry, you won’t need anywhere near this for your small operation.
Labels are very important and you need to take notice of what they say. Whether you use the Greenway Biotech Inc. product or Miracle Gro’s LiquaFeed plant food, follow the instructions closely.
A guide I received recently was that home gardeners recommend applying two to three pounds per one hundred square feet. This can vary again depending on the produce that’s being grown and the quality of the soil.
You can add compost to improve the quality of your soil. Compost increases the amount of organic matter in the soil. Organic matter holds moisture and nutrients.
Compost: Great For Your Soil And Your Lettuce
I wanted to add a section on compost because it’s going to be good for your soil, especially if it’s lacking in quality. So how do you make compost? Just collect scraps!
Kitchen scraps are good for compost. If you don’t have room for a full-sized compost pile, use a smaller one. You’ll still end up with great soil for your garden.
Make sure your compost bin is large enough to hold all your kitchen scraps. A simple bucket works well; just make sure it holds about two gallons of material. Don’t worry too much about what goes into the bin. Just put everything in there.
Composting reduces the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills. When you compost, you’re turning waste into rich soil that plants love.
Meanwhile, manure comes from different animals and contains different amounts of nutrients. Some types are better suited for certain crops than others. For example, cattle manure is rich in nitrogen, while horse manure is rich in phosphorus and potassium.
If you compost manure, you can use it to fertilize your garden. But be warned, too much raw manure can damage your plants. You must take care when adding manure to your garden.
Leaves are nature’s most efficient recyclers. They help keep rainwater clean and filter out pollutants like heavy metals, pesticides, and fertilizers.
In fact, trees use up to 80% of rainfall to grow new foliage. And they do it efficiently because they collect water and nutrients from the air and distribute them throughout the tree.
The best part about leaves is that they don’t go to waste. You can harvest them every fall, dry them, store them, and even use them later.
Best Natural Fertilizers For Lettuce
You already know that manure will be high on my list of homemade natural fertilizers. It’s what helped me produce great lettuce heads as a child and it will also help you do the same.
Obviously, most of you aren’t on a farm but the options to buy manure are good today.
Organic Chicken Manure
There are many other homemade natural fertilizer recipe options out there. Some are better than others. Some require special equipment.
Others aren’t safe for pets or children. And still others contain chemicals you don’t want near your food.
Here’s a list of other home made fertilizers that may suit your garden. They are simple to make and safe for both humans and animals plus, they are environmentally friendly.
Compost Tea Recipe
Compost tea is one of our favorite homemade natural fertilizer recipes because it doesn’t use any chemicals. It’s made from composted yard waste like leaves and grass clippings. Just add water and let sit overnight. Then strain the mixture and apply directly to your soil.
Best Fertilizer For Lettuce Choices? How About Fish Emulsion
Fish emulsion is another great option for making your own natural fertilizer. It contains fish oil, which helps feed beneficial bacteria in your soil. Add the emulsion to your garden around planting season.
Baking Soda And Vinegar
This is another easy way to make your own natural fertilizer. Mix equal parts baking soda and vinegar and spread around your garden. Let it soak into the ground for several days before adding seeds.
Coffee grounds are great for gardening, but you must make sure to soak them before applying to the soil. If left out too long, they will start to release ammonia, which could harm plants. This was another go-to for me especially for plants in pots.
Potassium helps plants grow strong stem and leaves, which makes it look like they’re healthier. But did you know that bananas are one of nature’s most powerful sources of potassium? You’ll find plenty of potassium in bananas, especially in the peel. So why not use some of those peels to fertilize your garden?
Conclusion: Best Fertilizer For Lettuce
The homemade fertilizer tips are simple solutions to consider. Personally, I use bought fertilizer these days. My days of collecting and spreading manure are over especially now I’m living in suburbia.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve great homemade fertilizer for your lettuce and other types of produce.
If you have your own recipes for fertilizing lettuce or compost methods, please share with us in the comments.