Let us Grow Lettuce

I gave this a go recently out of sheer desperation. We had a big hole in our garden ready for autumn/winter planting and an inspection looming just a few days away. With nothing left in the garden centres we were racking our brains how best to quickly fill up the mini plot to make sure it looked like we weren’t just needlessly making a big hole in the garden. As it turned out, they didn’t even look at what we’d done to the garden, but at least it gave us a solid push to get our stuff sorted for the year!

I was trawling through the supermarket and there it was… a pack of lettuce. But not a cellophane wrapped cut lettuce head or ready to eat bag mix, it was those “still growing” fresh varieties that are all the rage right now with force grown lettuce jam packed into a small container of thin soil that last just a few days longer than normal if you get them home to sun and water quickly.

Not this one but something just like this (from the mysupermarket website):



The lettuce is tiny and delicate – and that’s good if you’re into that but it you want something substantial you should think about replanting it. Yep, turns out that this little tray of lettuce has so many seedlings in it, a third of this small tray produced two packed rows of lettuce on my mini plot. They toughened up in no  time with a temporary poundland polytunnel which lasted just long enough to prepare them for their new outdoor life (about a week – not worth the pound).

This is the little beauties a week later after I removed the destroyed polytunnel.


Not only did they survive, but they have grown very well, given a new lease of life they took to the new average soil very well no doubt starved of nutrients long ago in their little tray and have become good sized plants. I am now just a few weeks later cutting leaves off for my salads without much thought. The leaves are still also relatively delicate and they aren’t tasteless, tough abominations.

Considering this tray of lettuce cost me £1 (from the reduced section) and I easily have more than 10 lettuces out of a third of the tray I’d call that excellent value for money and a great fast turnaround for the vacant autumn plot. I’m definitely recommending this trick for anyone in need of fast lettuce or looking to get some lettuce seedlings out of garden centre season.



Experimental Avocado

I am going to try to grow my own avocado tree in the UK. This will be grueling, unrewarding and lengthy so it’s not for the faint of heart!

You can germinate your avocado pip in a few different ways apparently. However, if you can get a seedling this is meant to be easier and more reliable for a tasty crop. I’m just going to turn the Hass Avocado I bought from Sainsbury’s into a tree and see what happens.

Things to note:

  • You may not get fruit
  • If you do get fruit it may not be tasty, even if the original avocado was
  • It WILL be big, easily up to 6 foot if not kept pruned and contained/stunted.
  • It WILL need to be kept warm and safe from frost
  • It WILL take at least 3 years before you see any returns at all

Avocados like soil of PH around 6 and a sandy texture soil works best. Make sure it also has great drainage or it will not be happy!

Your Avocado seed will look something like this:

Avocado Seed













How to Germinate Your Seed

You can do this in two main ways, first of all you can plant it in a large pot of well drained soil with the pointy end upwards. I have also put a plastic bag around the pot to keep it warm and moist while it germinates, remember to remove this bag as soon as germination occurs.

Hass Avocado Pot


This method works particularly well with most seeds that thrive in warmer climates such as Squash, Tomato and Cucumber.

Or alternatively you can place three toothpicks into the seed around the middle and suspend the pip over a beaker of water using the toothpicks to balance it. This ensure the base of the seed is submerged in fresh water and the point end is again upwards. You will need to change the water every 2-3 days.

Germination takes 3-6 weeks, the larger the seed is the longer germination usually takes so be prepared for it do to a whole lot of nothing for a very long time.