Growing lettuce in a ball? It might sound weird, but we promise you it is not! Salad balls are not only fun to do and look at, but are also practical. Why? If using a hanging planting pot when cultivating, the lettuce is out of reach of snails and pests that love to nibble on the green leaves. Another practical aspect is that you can harvest your lettuce without having to bend down.
Before you get started on your salad ball, here is what you need:
A lettuce ball can serve as a decorative element and becomes especially beautiful with salad varieties in different colors. There are, for example, Lollo Rossa salad with red and purple elements, or Iceberg salad if you want the traditional green color. If you want a variety of colors, baby leaf mix with mixed varieties of salad might be the perfect choice!
Creating your own ball of lettuce is not difficult, but might require some craftsy capacity from you! If the instructions seem tricky at first, look at the pictures to get a visual guide on how to create the lettuce ball.
1. The first step is to pre-cultivate lettuce. This can be done in, for example, a mini plug tray. The seeds should have germinated and grown a few centimeters high before they are ready to be placed in your salad ball.
2. Cut the coconut fiber mat into approximately 4-6 cm long strips. Cut enough strips to cover the inside of both planting pots. Also, cut a small circle with about 10–15 cm diameter to the bottom of the pot, like in the picture below.
3. Before covering the heap or basket with the coconut fiber mat; place the strips in water and allow them to soak. Also, water the soil you are going to use, so that it is moist.
4. Cover the bottom of the heap or basket with the circle of coconut mat that you cut out, and then add planting soil on top of it.
5. Place the roots of the lettuce plants into the soil. Place the salad leafs through the open parts of the pot, so that they hang on the outside of it. Place the plants with a distance of about 6-10 cm.
6. Place some strips of coconut fiber mat against the inside of the pot, on top of the plants. Fill with soil, and the plant another layer of lettuce plants. See the following two pictures below for a visual representation of how to create the layers with the mat, the soil, and the plants.
7. Create layers of the coconut fiber mat, soil, and plants until the pot is full.
8. Attach the second hanging planting pot on top of the first one by using a binding wire. Remember that watered soil is heavy, be sure to attach properly!
9. Continue layering coconut fiber mat, soil, and lettuce plants in the upper half of the pot or ball until it is full. The procedure of filling this upper half is more difficult than the bottom half, since you have to insert everything from the outside of the pot this time. See the picture above for visual instructions. Remember to be careful with the plants.
10. Hang up your lettuce ball by attaching the chains of the pot onto a hook on a roof or a wall. Remember to water the salad ball properly, and keep in mind that water might drip from the ball so hang it over a surface that can withstand water and soil.
Lettuce balls dry out quickly, especially if they are hanging in bright sun or in a windy spot. Remember to water regularly, and place the lettuce ball in a shady position if you will not be able to water it for a few days if you, for example, are going away for a while.
Harvesting your salad ball leaf by leaf is preferable as the lettuce will continue to grow and you can harvest for a long time. Add liquid plant food after a few weeks, to keep the plants thriving!