If you plan to plant and grow your lettuce, you’ll need to know more about lettuce companion plants. Did you know that a garden can be a lot like a schoolyard? Some plants can be each other’s best friends, while others won’t like each other.
Believe it or not, when you plant onions and peas next to each other, you won’t be able to achieve your desired results because they’re not chemically beneficial. In other words, they will cause harm to each other. One or both would hog nutrients, block the wind, and attract bugs that would damage the other.
On the other hand, if you plant companion plants next to each other, you’ll be surprised at how much they would help each other thrive. Perhaps one or both of them will attract pollinators, add much-needed nutrients to the soil, and offer weed control and shade to the other plant.
Before we dive into the world of companion planting, let’s have a closer look at the lettuce.
A Closer Look at the Lettuce
You might be surprised to find out that the lettuce (Lactuca sativa) belongs to the daisy family. Although the lettuce is an annual plant that looks a lot like cabbage, it’s not as tough as its look-alike, and it contains more water. Although it requires low temperatures to keep the plant from flowering, it can be easily cultivated.
Did you know that lettuce one cup or 36 grams will only give you about 10 grams of sodium, five calories, and 5 grams of fiber? You’ll also get 78% of the daily value of vitamin K, 53% of the daily value of vitamin A, 11% of the daily value of vitamin C, 5% of the daily value of manganese 3% of the daily amount of folate, and 2% of the daily value of iron. Furthermore, lettuce is devoid of cholesterol and fat; that’s why it’s a great idea to include this in your diet if you’re trying to lose weight.
Top Reasons Why You Should Start Eating Lettuce
Have you ever used lettuce in your sandwiches, wraps, salads, or soups? You can get a lot of nutrients and antioxidants from this leafy green. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, reduce your risk of heart disease, control inflammation, enhance your brain health, etc., you can never go wrong if you increase your lettuce intake.
If you’re still on the fence about incorporating this vegetable into your diet, check out these top reasons why you should start eating it:
It aids in weight loss
If you’re trying to maintain a low-calorie diet so that you could lose weight, you need to consider adding lettuce into your meals. Doing so will help you bridge the micronutrient gap that’s challenging to achieve with the kind of diet that you’re trying to follow. Since it contains fiber, it works to keep you feeling full, promote good digestion, and help you avoid binging.
It helps keep your heart healthy
Since lettuce has is a good source of vitamin C, it helps you steer clear of arterial stiffness, and it also aids in the treatment of heart disease. Experts claim that eating lettuce can help prevent the occurrence of myocardial infarction or a heart attack. It strengthens the arteries and prevents the buildup of plaque in the heart. To top it all off, consuming lettuce is also associated with the enhancement of cholesterol metabolism, reduction of bad cholesterol, and the increase of good cholesterol and antioxidants.
It controls inflammation
Aside from the fact that lettuce contains proteins such as lipoxygenase that are responsible for fighting inflammation, it also ample amounts of vitamins A, E, and K that helps reduce any signs of inflammation. Keep in mind that the darker the lettuce is, the more antioxidants it contains, and the more effective it is in controlling inflammation.
It enhances brain health
Did you know that when a person’s brain health deteriorates, it can trigger the development of Alzheimer’s disease? Lettuce is a rich source of dietary nitrate which converted to nitric oxide that enhances endothelial function. The increase in endothelial function is closely linked to a person’s cognitive enhancement and the prevention of severe brain diseases that are related to aging.
It promotes proper digestion
Since lettuce has high fiber content, it can help you improve your digestion and avoid bloating, constipation, and stomach pain.
It improves bone health
Did you know that vitamins A, K, and C are equally important in collagen production? In case you’re not aware, collagen plays an important role during the first phase of bone formation. Lettuce has vitamin A which helps develop new bone cells, vitamin K, which builds connective tissues and cartilage, and vitamin C, which prevents bone depletion secondary to aging.
It can help you sleep better
Anyone who has insomnia should eat more lettuce because it contains lactucarium and lactucin, which promotes sleep and relaxation. If you find it hard to fall asleep at night, consider adding lettuce to your dinner salad.
It fights anemia
Megaloblastic anemia is a type of anemia that’s characterized by very large due to underdeveloped red blood cells. As mentioned earlier, lettuce contains folate. This helps fight megaloblastic anemia.
It keeps your vision sharp
Lettuce contains the xanthophyll called lutein and the antioxidant called zeaxanthin. Since both substances help improve vision health, incorporating lettuce into your regular diet will steer clear macular degeneration and cataract formation closely related to aging.
The Different Types of Lettuce
As you check out the option at the salad bar, perhaps you’re wondering which type of lettuce is the best one for your salad or sandwich. It’s important to note that different types of lettuce offer varying levels of nutrients.
However, it doesn’t matter which type you mix into your dishes because each lettuce can still give you a big nutritional boost. To learn more about the different kinds of lettuce, check this out:
If you want to give your meal a robust crunch, pick romaine lettuce. With its sweet and sturdy center and its long and slightly bitter leaves, it can stand up to any kind of dressing – from your vinaigrette to blue cheese. Some people even choose to grill this type of lettuce because its texture is so sturdy.
There are two different kinds of butterhead lettuce – Bibb and Boston. While a Bibb is sweet and its size is about as small as the size of a fist, Boston is much larger and fluffier with softer leaves that easily bruise. Both varieties are great for cooking shrimp or ground chicken.
Sometimes called Italian chicory or leaf chicory, radicchio is mostly purple in color. When roasted or grilled, this type of lettuce tastes sweet. However, when it’s eaten fresh, it can have a slightly bitter flavor.
Leaf lettuce can be tender green, mild red, or spicy and nutty oak. Compared to other kinds of lettuce, this variety tends to be more perishable. Thus, make sure that you avoid instant wilting by serving it right after you dress it.
Some people call this salad green Italian cress. It has a peppery-tasting quality to it, which tends to balance out your lemony dressings. Others even stuff this in their sandwich or on top of their pizza.
What is Companion Planting
Now that you know more about this green leafy vegetable, it’s time to move on to the ancient concept of companion planting. This refers to planting various plants near each other to encourage pollination and pest control while providing an ideal environment for beneficial insects, increasing plant productivity, and maximizing the use of space.
The Benefits of Companion Planting
It’s a good gardening practice to certain group plants if you know they need growing conditions similar to each other or if they’re beneficial to one another. Besides increasing the diversity of your garden, companion planting will also provide you with the following benefits:
It regulates shade and wind
You’re probably aware that it’s never a good idea to give tender and fragile plants too much sun. With companion planting, you can group these plants with taller plants that could offer them shelter. Likewise, you can protect your smaller plants from harsh winds if you position them alongside taller and larger plants.
It optimizes soil
Did you know that any plant’s root system can affect the soil that it’s planted in? For instance, carrots and parsnips with long taproots tend to lift the nutrients that are found from the deeper parts of the soil. This can benefit other plants that have shallow root systems.
Moreover, certain plants such as peas and beans can draw nitrogen in to make it even more available in the soil where other plants may need it.
It provides natural supports
Companion planting allows you to use taller plants as a trellis for your sprawling crops. Your snap peas and cucumbers will find natural support if you plant them alongside the taller and stronger sunflowers.
It prevents weed growth
When you alternate sprawling plants with upright ones, you’ll create a cover that’s thicker across most parts of the open land in your garden. This will do wonders at preventing weed growth.
It promotes plant health
When you grow plants right next to their companions, you help boost the health of both plants. Instead of competing with each other, they’ll support each other’s growth. When companion planting is done right, the soil’s entire biochemistry changes, and you’ll be able to harvest plants with better quality and taste.
The Best Companion Plants for Lettuce
Like other types of vegetables, lettuce also has its own list of suitable companions that could range from flowers to aromatic herbs to plants. These include carrots, beets, chervil, eggplant, melons and squash, nasturtiums, turnips, radishes, parsnips, asparagus, chives, garlic, mints, onions, and shallots, as well as cilantro.
Should You Grow Your Plants in a Greenhouse?
If you want to ensure optimum plant growth in a controlled environment, then the answer is yes. Here are some of the best reasons why you should grow your plants in a greenhouse:
It provides an ideal environment for plant growth
It doesn’t matter if you’re growing your lettuce alongside herbs, vegetables, or flowers – a greenhouse can help you provide all of your plants with enough heat, warmth, and water vapor that can further enhance their growth.
It provides plant protection
When you plant your lettuce and its companion plants inside a greenhouse, you can be sure that they’ll be protected from harsh weather conditions and pest infestations.
You can have an all-season garden
Growing your plants inside a greenhouse also means being able to garden all-year-round. In case you’re wondering, a greenhouse can trap the warmth of the sun, your plants will enjoy consistent temperature inside the greenhouse even in the winter.
It provides a designated spot for all of your gardening tools
Since a greenhouse can also serve as a storage area for your gardening supplies, tools, accessories, and equipment, you can eliminate the need to build a garden shed. In other words, a greenhouse can be your own all-in-one gardening spot.
You’ll have more plant options
Did you know that if you have a greenhouse, you’ll be able to grow individual plants that aren’t even native to your area? Compared to the outdoors, a greenhouse can offer a more humid and warmer environment for your plants. Thanks to the consistent insulation and heat inside it, a greenhouse enables you to plant exotic plants and warm-season vegetables, as long as you know the conditions that these plants need.