Gardening in general, comes with many rewards, but vegetable gardening is possibly the most rewarding. Sure you can always pick up lettuce at the grocery store when you need it, but taking just a few minutes now will pay off in as little as 30 days. This is also something that children will enjoy.
Arugula and spinach grow quickly in the fall. As a matter of fact, they go from seed to table in about 40 days. Also try pretty Asian greens, such as tatsoi or mizuna, which grow so fast that you will have baby plants to add to stir-fries and soups just three weeks after sowing. Lettuce is available in many varieties and is always a good place to start.
If you want to grow your own salad garden this fall and don't have space in the yard, you will need a pot, garden soil, a small amount of organic fertilizer (compost will do), and seed. It's really that simple. Lettuce seeds can be the size of pin heads and don't need to be planted very deeply or they will not germinate. Follow the planting and watering directions on the seed packet and you're good to grow.
When leaf lettuce plants are about one inch high, you can begin thinning and eating the lettuce. Use scissors to cut or snap off the shoots. This will prevent the roots of the remaining plants from being disturbed and give the plants room to thrive.
When your lettuce is fully grown (check the information on the seed packet), pick it immediately and enjoy. During the next few weeks, you can sow new seed almost weekly so there will always be more on the way. When the leaves grow longer than four to six inches, you may find them too tough and bitter. So discard overgrown plants, which will make room for new seedlings.
Photos from Better Home and Gardens