Growing miner’s lettuce is relatively easy. It is a self-seeding plant and can grow vigorously in favorable conditions. Cool and moist conditions are considered good for growing miner’s lettuce. In the wild, the miner’s lettuce tend to grow in shaded sites such as under tree.
The miner’s lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) is actually a flowering plant in the Montiaceae family and is a fleshy plant. It is also called by many other names such as spring beauty, Indian lettuce and Winter purslane.
The miner’s lettuce is considered as weeds in some areas. But it is edible and a great source of vitamin C. Miners used to eat the plant as salad greens, as well as the edible blossoms and stems of the plants. Actually all the parts of miner’s lettuce plants are edible, and this vegetable can be eaten either raw or cooked in many different ways.
How to Grow Miner’s Lettuce
Growing miner’s lettuce is relatively easy. The plants grow well in cool and moist conditions. However, here we are describing more information about growing miner’s lettuce.
Select a Location
The miner’s lettuce plants actually grow well in almost all conditions. They can grow well in both full sunny areas, and also in shady areas. So, you can choose any spot in your garden for growing miner’s lettuce.
Prepare the Soil
The miner’s lettuce plants grow well and can be found in soil conditions from loam, sand, gravel road tar, river silt and rock crevices. They can grow in average soil. But preparing the soil by tilling and adding some organic materials into it will be very good for the growth of the plants.
Purchase seeds from any of your nearest garden centers after preparing the soil. You can also order the seeds online if you aren’t able the find the seeds within your area.
Best Time for Growing Miner’s Lettuce
The miner’s lettuce plants tend to grow best in cool and moist conditions. Generally 10-12° C temperature is considered best for sowing the seeds.
For planting the miner’s lettuce, you can either scatter the seeds over the prepared bed or plant the seeds in rows. Just remember to sow the seeds about 4 weeks prior to your last spring frost or as soon as the soil can be worked. For sowing the seeds in rows, sow about 1-2 seed per inch and the rows should be about 8-12 inches apart. You can thin the seedlings later to about 6-8 inches apart. Sow the seeds to about 1/4 inch deep, and water the bed immediately after planting the seeds. Under good condition, the seeds will germinate within a week.
The miner’s lettuce plants are easy to grow and they don’t require much care. Just keeping the soil moist constantly will keep the plants happy. Applying additional fertilizers is not required, you just have to water the plants regularly for keeping the soil moist. Add 1-2 inches of mulch for retaining moisture into the soil and also for controlling weeds from your garden. Dry leaves, grass clippings, hay or compost will be very good for using as mulch.
Pests and Diseases
The miner’s lettuce plants are virtually free from pests and diseases. They will just grow fine if the soil is moist and the weather is cool.
You can start harvesting when the plants are large enough and have enough leaves. It’s always good to harvest the leaves at the base of the stems where they emerge from the root crown. You can harvest the leaves either by pinching or breaking them off at a right angle. Unlike many other greens, miner’s lettuce retains its flavor even when the plant is in bloom, however, it will become bitter when the weather becomes hot. After harvesting, you can enjoy the leaves of the miner’s lettuce plants in many different ways. Good luck!