Monty Don shares how to avoid slugs and snails ‘devastating’ lettuce plants

Monty Don gives gardeners advice on planting lettuce

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Gardening expert Monty Don shared the best way to plant lettuce in your vegetable patch. In an episode of Gardeners’ World from 2020, Monty explained how to avoid your lettuce being “destroyed” by slugs and snails. Lettuces are easy to grow, delicious and come in a range of flavours and textures.

They’re the perfect accompaniment to a summer meal and can even be picked while they’re young and tender.

Monty said his vegetable garden did well last year.

He said: “The vegetable garden has had a good year so far.

“I’ve got some lettuce here which will be ready for harvesting in late summer, early autumn.

“The idea of lettuce is just to keep succession growing but that does mean good timing and a good choice of varieties.”

Monty showed viewers “lobjoits cos” which prefers warmer summer weather.

He also showed viewers “red oak leaf” which he will manage to get at least two cuttings of before the end of the year.

He continued: “It’s always tempting to grow too much of one variety of lettuce.

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“It’s far better to have small amounts of different varieties which are enough but not too much.

“Now, a cos lettuce has got that lovely crips heart but it grows tall and is really, I suppose, my favourite.”

Monty said the two best summer cos lettuce varieties are lobjoits and parris island lettuce.

To make sure the lettuce varieties grow properly, Monty said nowadays he grows them in the “same way”.

“I always grow them in the same way nowadays which is to sow them in a seed tray and then trick them out into plugs.

“Grow them on and then plant them out when they’re this size.”

Monty said the reason he started growing them like this is because slugs and snails could eat them just as they appear above the ground.

He said: “This all started because I found when I directly sowed the slugs and snails could devastate them just as they appeared above the ground.

“Whereas, if I grow these on in the protection of a greenhouse and cold frames and I really watch out for slugs in particular then they get nice and strong and young and healthy.

“If I plant them out at this site, they can withstand slightly attack.”

Lettuce can be sowed and planted out from March through to September, according to the Royal Horticultural Society.

Gardeners’ World airs tonight at 9pm on BBC Two.

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