Lettuces – staple vegetable or beginners graveyard?

Gardeners with a love for salads may wish to try growing their own lettuce this spring to give the healthy meal a personal touch.

Growing your own vegetables has become very fashionable with top chef Jamie Oliver being just one advocate of the pursuit.

The popular and tasty lettuce is a mainstay in the UK diet and produces large, crisp and succulent heads over the summer and autumn period.

Seeds should be sown thinly into fine, warm and moist soil at a depth of around half and inch.

Rows and plants should be spaced around a foot apart and lettuces tend to grow best in a well-cultivated sunny spot.

GardenAction does warn that lettuces can be difficult to grow for the beginner and that they need lots of rain and dislike conditions that are overly hot.

"Lettuce – often the beginner gardeners graveyard," the website warns.

"Watch the gardening TV programmes, read the glossy gardening magazines – it all seems so easy! Sometimes it is, and sometimes it just isnt."

As with anything grown in the garden or greenhouse though, enough preparation and research can help even beginner gardeners to succeed.