5 Tips for Thinning Your Baby Lettuce

Exciting times in my small city garden!

Enjoying the fruits of my labor with the first salad from my vegetable garden is always a special treat. This year I am growing a lovely mix of salad greens called “Salad Bowl” along with “Burpee Bibb” lettuce. Described as a delicately crisp lettuce that is slow to bolt, I am so excited to try it!

As you can see, I planted a lot of seed in a very small area, just look at all of that baby lettuce! Now that the lettuce patch has filled in nicely, it is time to start thinning them out. You can see in the video below, that I only pull a few of them out at a time- that is part of my strategy…

Here are my top 5 tips for thinning baby lettuce:

  1. Pull out just enough lettuce for the salad that you will eat today. If you pull more than you actually plan on eating right away, then all of your hard work will go to waste!
  2. Pull from the root! When you are pulling the thinnings from the crop, pull from the root so that the remaining lettuce will have space to grow. The remaining lettuce will fill out the new space that surrounds it.
  3. Shake off the dirt. It is always a good idea to shake the dirt off of the root so that you reduce the amount of dirt that you will eventually have to wash off of the leaves. (and less dirt in your sink!)
  4. Clip the root. Once you have the baby lettuce out of the garden, you’ll want to clip the roots off- because hey, who wants to eat roots? (not me!) Just make sure to clip them close to the base of the green part of the lettuce, so that you preserve all of the tasty lettuce leaf for your salad.
  5. Wash and dry your lettuce! Wash all of the dirt away using a colander or strainer. No one likes wet lettuce…I like to use a salad spinner to dry the lettuce so that the leaves stay perky and don’t wilt in the process of drying.

Once you have set the stage for a perfect salad, with all of your beautiful baby lettuce, add herbs and other vegetables to dress it up!

I used fresh herbs from my garden- dill, oregano, thyme, cilantro, and basil to make a very special salad. The first garden salad of the season! (using only ingredients from my garden)

Adding color to my green salad
In a month or so, the other vegetables in the garden should be ready to eat. Can’t wait for my garden cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots to be ready- then my salad will be complete!

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