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Life after the ice age

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Life after the ice age

Growing up we ate a lot of iceberg lettuce in our household. I don't know about you, but we didn't know all these other types of lettuces that are now available even existed.

My kids, on the other hand, are lettuce connoisseurs. They like buttercrunch with this and cos with that and 'no thanks Dad I'd prefer red lettuce in my sandwich'.

And I can tell you right now, growing up in the Manawatu, there was no way we picked leaves off the lettuce in the garden as we needed it. Who knew you didn't need to harvest the whole plant and take it inside? That if you left it in the garden you could just pick the fresh leaves as you needed and leave the plant to continue growing.

So now that I've had the world of lettuce opened up to me, it seems crazy just to plant one variety. That's why I'm a huge fan of Awapuni Nurseries' hearting mixed lettuce bundle, which includes at least nine seedlings of in-season hearting lettuce, buttercrunch, red and cos lettuce.

You can pick up your own Awapuni Nurseries mixed lettuce bundle from your local supermarket, Bunnings or The Warehouse. Alternatively, jump on to our website at www.awapuni.co.nz and get your seedlings delivered direct to your door.

Once you've got your seedlings you need to find a place to plant. If you don't have a dedicated vege garden look for a well-drained and sheltered spot. Running tight on space in your back yard? Lettuces grow great in pots and can be placed in a spot easily accessible to your kitchen.

Next, simply dig a little hole and plant each seedling around 20cm apart.

I've had a few people tell me in the past that they find it impossible to grow lettuce because of attacks from slugs and snails. Well, I've said it before and I'll say it again, beer bait. If you're going to grow lettuce you need to have a defence in place for these slimy creatures. Beer bait is easy to create, you've probably already got all the things you need for it in your house, it's fun to do with the kids, and it works! Check out the side box for instructions on how to stop your slugs in their slime.

Depending on the weather where you live your lettuces should be ready to harvest (and by harvest, I mean pick the leaves as you need them) in around eight to 12 weeks. �Got kids? This is a great job for them to be in charge of at dinnertime. And, they get to pick the type of lettuce they like best.

Just remember lettuces like water. So if spring comes early in your region, check the moisture level in the soil where you planted your leafy veges. Simply put your finger in the ground up to around the first knuckle and if it feels dry you need to add some water.

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