Today I’ll share with you some of my most helpful tips on how to grow AeroGarden lettuce. Whether your looking for better ways to prune or new varieties to try this guide has got you covered.
Most of us would agree that nothing tastes better than fresh, crunchy lettuce in our everyday salads and sandwiches. Not just that, a 2016 study shows that lettuce can help with inflammation too. It states that “In vitro and in vivo studies have shown anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-lowering, and anti-diabetic activities attributed to the bioactive compounds in lettuce.”
Buying salad greens from the grocer and keeping them fresh becomes a nuisance. Thus, your best bet is to grow them on your own, but what about your salad greens in the winter? With an AeroGarden, you can have your fresh lettuce all year round.
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Can I Grow Lettuce in my AeroGarden?
Lettuce is often a go-to grow of choice for hydroponic growers since lettuce appreciates the abundance of water available. Growing lettuce in your AeroGarden is just as easy as any other hydroponic system. Not only can you grow lettuce in your AeroGarden, but you can also do it astonishingly fast.
Spring greens grown with an AeroGarden are ready to harvest in just three to four weeks and available to enjoy all year long. For the best indoor-grown lettuce with an AeroGarden, follow these top tips.
Step 1: Set up light distance
Lettuce likes light; it is as simple as that. The lower, the better the chance of indoor lettuce mimicking lettuce heads that you may find at the supermarket. AeroGarden has exceptionally potent LED lights, which make the lettuce grow rapidly. Now, this is a good thing. However, you are at risk of instigating too much growth, which can cause the leafy greens to taste a little bitter – no one wants that. Thus, it is essential to keep the recommended height of at least four to six inches between the grow lights at the top leaves in mind.
Step 2: toughen up the lettuce
If you love lettuce with a softer texture, indoor garden salad greens will be perfect for you as is. Since AeroGarden grown lettuce varieties do not have to endure sunlight or windy outdoor conditions (and bugs), they miss the tough bite that many people crave in their leafy greens. If you enjoy crispier lettuce leaves, you can do so by toughening them up, creating artificial windy conditions. You can do this by pointing a small fan towards your AeroGarden
Step 3: Keep cool
“Fanning” makes the lettuce much crisper in texture and helps keep the temperature cool which is another necessity to grow lettuce successfully indoors. The ideal temperature to grow lettuce tips towards the cool side is between 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You must place the AeroGarden in a cool location since higher temperatures mimicking summery conditions can cause lettuce to bolt.
Which is the Best AeroGarden for Lettuce?
Since lettuce tends to do well in light and needs space to grow correctly, any spacious model with high-resolution grow lights would be a perfect fit for optimal growth. For bigger harvests, I recommend the AeroGarden Bounty Basic. The Bounty Basic model houses 30-Watt LED grow lights with a nine plant capacity. It allows 24 inches of growth – making it the ideal model for salad greens that grow fuller. Not sure which AeroGarden is best for your growing needs? Check out my full AeroGarden review.
How to Prune AeroGarden Lettuce?
When growing different lettuce varieties in your AeroGarden, remember to keep the lights low to provide much-needed light for the lettuce to propagate to its full indoor garden potential. Keep on pruning the lettuce, keeping in mind to prune just enough that it doesn’t require you to raise the light hood. Trim and use fresh lettuce in salads and sandwiches before the scare of browning.
Fully grown lettuce tops need to be pruned regularly to keep the recommended four to six inches from the grow lights. This would mean periodic trimming for optimal growth and lots of crispy fresh greens – a win-win situation if you ask me.
When to Harvest AeroGarden Lettuce?
As I have discussed earlier, AeroGarden lettuce is harvest-ready in about three weeks – of course, this could differ depending on the varieties that you have chosen to grow. Regardless, lettuce grown in this smart garden grows exceptionally tall and fast. Therefore, three weeks after clicking in the grow baskets in the seed pods, be ready with your shears or scissors to enjoy a fresh salad at your beck and call.
How to Harvest Lettuce?
We know that the waiting period before you can trim crispy (or tender) lettuce directly into your salad bowl is approximately three to four weeks. However, once the beautiful green leaves begin to appear in your AeroGarden, how do you harvest them?
Indoor garden lettuce harvesting is quite different from plucking fully grown lettuce heads from outside gardens. The best way to harvest AeroGarden salad greens is to cut some and as you need them. There are two ways to do this. Both ways hold their merits and work best according to your yield results. I will discuss both these methods and when it is best to apply either for harvesting lettuce.
Method A: Full Harvest
The “Full Harvest” method is also known as “The Haircut” method. As the name suggests, you take off some two inches from a fully grown lettuce top in this method. After about three weeks of planting the seeds, your salad greens will be tall enough with big leaves that you can harvest from the top.
Just be careful to leave behind 2/3rd of the plant when you harvest. Chopping off more than 1/3rd of the plant will hinder its growth. Once you take the leaves off the lettuce tops, they tend to grow back quickly, and you can keep on enjoying fresh salad greens two to three times a week.
Method B: Partial Harvest
The “Partial” or “Single-Leaf” harvest allows you to cut leaves that have grown bigger and quicker than others.
You can start with this method when the leaves are very young, only pruning the ones big enough with pruning shears or kitchen scissors. This is an excellent method to propagate smaller leaves as it allows them more light and growth. With this method, the overall plant growth is increased, and you can have fresh salad leaves for a long time.
Growing Small Herbs with Lettuce in an AeroGarden
It is excellent to plant small herbs like basil, thyme, and dill along with lettuce in an AeroGarden as they do not require much space. You can mix and match to see which combinations work best.
However, since lettuce can grow quite tall, remember to trim it regularly so that the small herbs can get enough light and air. If you don’t cut the bigger leaves appropriately, the small herbs will stifle. Now, you might think that adjusting the grow light to allow more height might work in your favor; it would just move the light hood further away from the smaller plants. When trimming, remember never to cut off more than 1/3rd of any plant.
Can you grow lettuce and tomatoes together in AeroGarden?
Growing tomatoes with any other plant can be a little tricky since they tend to spread as they grow, usually stifling other plants and taking up all the light. Some tomato varieties need the light hood to be adjusted to accommodate their height – sometimes up to 24 inches – which results in the hood being too far to provide sufficient light to companion plants.
With lettuce, this combination might work since leafy greens also tend to grow fast and tall. However, this would only be possible in larger models like the 9-pod Bounty Elite or the Bounty Basic models. If you are attempting to grow tomatoes and lettuce together, steer clear of smaller models like the 3-pod Sprout model.
Types of Lettuce in Salad Greens Pods
AeroGarden salad green pods offer a variety of different lettuce types. You can go for a seed pot kit with a blend of varying lettuce, or you can choose your lettuce variety based on your preference and growing conditions.
1. Custom Salad Seed Pod Kit:
You can choose 18 lettuce varieties for different AeroGarden models – 3 seed pods up to 12 seed pods.
2. Mixed Romaine Seed Pod Kit:
This seed pod kit comes with pre-seeded red and green Romaine lettuce pods.
3. Salad Greens Seed Pod Kit:
This seed pod kit contains a combination of red and green lettuce, along with romaine and butter lettuce varieties.
4. Salad Lover’s Seed Pod Kit:
This is a pre-selected 12-seed pod kit, which includes different Romaine lettuce, Mustard Greens, and other blends of salads. You can use it for multiple growing seasons in 6-pod and 3-pod AeroGarden models.
5. Heirloom Salad Greens Seed Pod Kit:
This seed pod kit features Marvel of 4 Seasons, Black Seeded Simpson, Rouge d’Hiver, Deer Tongue, Red Sail, and Parris Island lettuce. However, the 3-pod variety only contains Deer Tongue, Parris Island, and Black Seeded Simpson varieties.
6. Mixed Kale Seed Pod Kit:
This kit features several kale varieties and can be used in AeroGarden with different pod capacities.
7. Green Smoothie Seed Pod Kit:
This seed pod kit has Kale, Beet, and Mustard Greens – which make a great addition to any smoothie, as the name suggests.
8. Bok Choy, Beet Greens, and Swiss Chard Seed Pod Kit:
These kits contain different pod varieties of these lettuce types.
9. Japanese Greens Seed Pod Kit:
This kit contains Mizuna, Shungiku, and Tatsoi lettuce varieties.
10. Southern Greens Seed Pod Kit:
This kit contains Swiss Chard, Dinosaur Kale, and Collard Greens.
11. Salad Bar Seed Pod Kit, Heirloom Salad Greens Seed Pod Kit, and Great Greens Seed Pod Kit:
All these pod kit varieties are only available for Farm and Farm Plus Models. The Salad Bar kit contains a wide variety of lettuce, herbs, and tomatoes. In contrast, the Heirloom Salad Greens Kit features two pods each of Red Sail, Deer Tongue, Parris Island, Marvel of 4 Seasons, Black Seeded Simpson, and Rouge D’Hiver. Lastly, the Great Greens Kit contains all the lettuce varieties in the Heirloom Salad Greens Seed Pod Kit and Romaines, Salad Greens, Arugula, and Baby Greens.
My final thoughts
I hope that with this guide, you can get accustomed to growing different varieties of lettuce all year round. There is a vast selection of different kinds of pre-seeded pods that you can use in an AeroGarden – have fun and experiment.