Harvested from more than 342,000 acres across the country, lettuce is a $ 2 billion industry primarily located in California, Arizona and Florida, according to US Department of Agriculture (USDA) census data. In Florida, more than 10,000 acres of lettuce are harvested on the cool, short days of late fall through early spring. Most of the production takes place in the Everglades farming area just below Lake Okeechobee in Palm Beach County.
With consumers looking to grow more produce at home year round, fall is a great time to add lettuce to the vegetable mix to grow in your garden, no matter the size of your space.
Germán Sandoya-Miranda, Assistant Professor of Lettuce Breeding and Genetics at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF / FAS), co-wrote “Growing Lettuce in Small Hydroponic Systems ”offering information, resources and best practice advice for the home grower.
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“Lettuce is planted in Florida fields from October to March and consumers begin to enjoy lettuce produced in the state from early December to late April,” said Sandoya, whose work on lettuce breeding and disease research is based at Belle Glade at UF / IFAS Everglades Research and Education Center. Growing lettuce in small hydroponic systems can provide citizens with additional gardening hobbies and the opportunity to consume their own fresh, ‘farm to fork’ produce.
The article, published on Askifas, UF / IFAS’s peer-reviewed electronic database information system (EDIS) platform, explains in detail the benefits of growing lettuce in environments controlled, things to consider to make it work in small environments like patios and allotments, tips on support and irrigation options, and resources to help you get started growing your own bed of tasty green vegetables.
“I hope our post can give Floridians a starting point to grow their lettuce at home,” said Jonael Bosques, co-author of the post and director of UF / IFAS Extension Hardee County.
In homes or condos, where space or sun is limited, lettuce can be grown and supplemented with daylight hours to create ideal growing conditions, he adds.
“One point to remember is that growing indoors doesn’t mean our plants will be perfect all the time,” said Vanessa Campoverde, an ornamental nursery agent at UF / IFAS Extension Miami Dade County who has contributed to the article. “This is why we must monitor their growth and especially their health. Make it part of your routine while checking out your indoor or outdoor hydroponic systems. “
“Certain problems with lighting, nutritional deficiencies and temperature make this crop ideal for beginners. There are many varieties to choose from, and there are marked differences in how they respond to different environments and growing conditions, ”said Sandoya.
For more information:
UF / IFAS