How to Grow Little Gem Romaine Lettuce


Little Gem (Lactuca sativa ‘Little Gem’), a smaller type of romaine lettuce with a rapid maturity time, is an excellent choice for gardens with limited space. You may sow the seeds for a Little Gem crop closer together than you would for other types in order to have a higher yield. The heads of a Little Gem crop measure only 4 inches wide. Growing Little Gem lettuce is not much different from growing other types of lettuce.

The University of California at Davis suggests that gardeners who reside in regions that get air from both the seaside and inland regions sow the Little Gem seeds straight between the months of August and November or between February and May. Little Gem seeds may be planted at any time of the year in coastal places that are chilly and misty. Gardeners who live in areas that experience hot summers should plant their Little Gem seeds as soon as possible in the spring. In a normal growing cycle, Little Gem is ready to be harvested after 33 days.

  1. 1. Ensure that the soil is warm

    Checking the temperature of the soil requires the use of a soil thermometer. Temperatures ranging from 40 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit should be maintained in the soil all the way down to a depth of 6 inches for maximum germination.

  2. 2. Choose a location

    Pick a planting plot that gets sun in the morning but will be in the shadow in the afternoon.

  3. 3. Prepare the soil

    Turn the dirt over to a depth of about a foot until it is completely broken up. Compost should be dug in at a depth of three inches, using a shovel or a gardening fork to ensure that it is evenly distributed throughout the top six inches of soil. Rake the bed so that the surface is even and smooth.

  4. 4. Add fertilizer to the soil

    The instructions on the fertiliser package should be followed precisely when applying nitrogen fertiliser to the ground. Meals such as alfalfa meal, kelp meal, and cottonseed meal are all examples of organic sources of nitrogen. Fertilizer should be worked into the top three inches of soil.

  5. 5. Sow the seeds

    Plant the seeds of the Little Gem flower about half an inch deep and one inch apart, in rows that are 16 inches apart. (You’ll eventually space them out to a distance of 12 inches.) According to Thomas & Morgan Seeds, you shouldn’t tamp the earth down over the seeds; rather, you should only cover them gently.

  6. 6. Water appropriately

    The planting bed should be watered to a depth of three inches. Drip irrigation and utilising a hose attachment that has a setting for a fine mist are the two approaches that work the best. The important thing is to make sure that the watering process does not remove the seeds. Maintain a consistent level of moisture in the soil. After sowing the seeds, the Little Gem lettuce will germinate anywhere from two to five days later.

  7. 7. Thin the seedlings

    When the seedlings of the Little Gem have developed their third set of leaves, you should thin them out. They should have a distance of between 8 and 12 inches between each other. Maintaining a moist soil environment for the seedlings requires that you keep watering them.

  8. 8. Fertilize regularly

    After the thinning process is complete, apply a soluble nitrogen fertiliser to the remaining seedlings. This should be the same fertiliser that was applied before to planting. Dig a trench that is two inches deep and two inches distant from each row before applying the fertiliser. To a depth of about 15 centimetres, cover the fertiliser with soil and water. This technique, known as side-dressing, helps prevent the roots of the lettuce, which are more delicate, from being scorched. Always apply the exact quantity of fertiliser that is specified by the manufacturer.

  9. 9. Protect from pests

    Frequent checks for pests should be performed on the Little Gem plants. Be on the lookout for aphids, which are little white bugs that have a tendency to cluster in large numbers on the bottom edges of the plant’s leaf. However, since this plant develops so rapidly, pests are often not a problem. To dislodge them off the lettuce, fire a powerful stream of water from the hose in its direction. If slugs are devouring the lettuce, you need to find out where they hide during the day and then put a strip of coarse, sharp sand in between the spot where they are hiding and the bed of Little Gems.

    Things You Will Need

    • Soil thermometer

    • Rototiller or hand cultivator

    • Compost

    • Shovel or gardening fork

    • Rake

    • Nitrogen fertilizer