To create a soil that’s light and well drained, you’ll probably need to amend with compost. Lettuce grows quickly, so adding nitrogen (in the form of cottonseed meal, blood meal or a commercial nitrogen fertilizer) is also recommended. Turn the soil to incorporate amendments.
Seeds for many types of lettuce are available from nurseries or through mail-order catalogs. Plant several varieties for maximum flavor.
To keep your rows straight, plant the seeds very close together alongside a bamboo stick. Lettuce may be harvested when it is quite young, and as you harvest young plants you’ll also thin the seedlings. Rows should be planted 3″ apart. Plant a different variety in each row – romaine, arugula, cress, radicchio and red leaf – to give the garden visual appeal.
Mark each row with a label. Pat the seed gently to settle it into the soil, and water gently. Use enough water to soak the soil but not enough to make puddles. A fan-nozzle hose-end attachment works well for watering seeds.