Agriculture Corner

Classification of Crop Plants in Agriculture: Seasonal & Special Purpose Crops


Like agronomic classification, crops are further classified into two categories based on season and special purpose for which they are grown. This kind of classification allows easy understanding of crops, characteristics and their use accordingly for the agriculture students and knowledge seekers.

This article is the extension of the previous article that presented 10 crops based on agronomic classification. Before discussing each crop in seasonal and special purpose classification system, let’s get familiar with the names of crops in each category. 

Agronomic Classification of Crops in Agriculture

In Seasonal classification, crops are divided into 4 groups. These are;

  • Rabi Crops
  • Zaid Rabi Crops
  • Kharif Crops
  • Zaid Kharif Crops

In Special Purpose classification scheme, crops are divided into 5 groups. These are;

  • Catch Crops
  • Trap Crops
  • Silage Crops
  • Cover Crops
  • Soiling Crops

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Agriculture Corner

Classification of Crop Plants in Agriculture: Agronomic Classification


There are hundreds of crops grown in agriculture sector. These crops are grouped together or more precisely classified into various categories based on agronomic classification, seasonal classification special purpose classification etc.

The purpose of these classifications is to learn about the agriculture crops more deeply and accurately to judge their characteristics so that best agronomic practices can be applied to get maximum production and yield.

In this article, you will find the classification of crop plants in agriculture based on agronomic classification. In agronomic classification, crops are divided into 10 categories. A brief about each category is given below along with the suitable examples.

1 Cereal or Grain Crops

Cereal Crops or grain crops belong to the grass family. These are cultivated and utilized for their edible starch rich seeds. These are regarded as the base crops to make people food secure around the globe. The widely known cereal crop is the Wheat. It is the largest crop utilized globally. It is used in the form of its flour.

Other important cereal crops include Oats, Barley, Corn, Rye, Sorghum and Rice. This group provides the most important staple crops to the 7 billion people of the globe.

2 Legume Crops

Legume crops constitute the most important agronomic crops, known for fixing atmospheric nitrogen into the soil for further agriculture activities. Legumes have bacteria on their roots that fix nitrogen gas into usable form. Legumes are the most important source of protein in agriculture world. Important crops included in legumes are Peas, Groundnut, Lentils, Broad Beans, Chick Peas, Alfalfa, Clover etc.

3 Forage Crops

Like cereals have importance for humans, forage crops are the source of food for animals, livestock and wildlife. In other words, forage crops are the lifeline for animals on earth. Forage crops are utilized as feed for livestock in various ways like drying them to make hay or ferment them to prepare silage or even mechanized processing of forage crops results in making of pellets or cubes that are fit for animal consumption. Important forage crops include grasses, crucifers and legumes.

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Agriculture Corner

Water Conservation Techniques in Arid or Dryland Agriculture Systems


Water is a jewel for arid agriculture farmers. Rainfall being the chief source of water for cropping purposes in these areas is precious. Arid areas are characterized by very low rainfall (less than 100mm as defined by FAO) high temperature and barren land. Even after the rainfall, the rate of evaporation and evapo-transpiration from water body structures and plants is high that available water loses at a fast pace.

How Arid or Dryland are Formed?

Arid or Dryland are formed naturally. This happens when topographic, climatic and oceanographic elements create hindrances in the way of moisture-bearing weather systems to reach that zone.

Special Treatment for Arid Lands

To sustain agricultural activities and generate food and livelihoods of the farmers of arid zones, special measures are taken in each cropping activity right from sowing to harvesting and post-harvesting. However, water has central importance in this scenario and conservation of available water (through any mode of precipitation) requires special structures and techniques.

This article will highlight 5 best suited and easy to install methods of water conservation in Arid or Dryland agriculture systems.

1. Micro or Drip Irrigation

This is the most effective and efficient way of water conservation technique suitable for arid lands. Not only this method helps in water conservation, but it also help in soil conservation. In this method, water is delivered to plants from soil surface using a system of tubes that bear small holes and other destructive outlets. This method also allows the application of fertilizer by mixing it with irrigation water through Drip irrigation. It has been estimated that drip irrigation saves 50-70 percent water as compare to traditional methods of irrigation and also it supplements more crop production by 20-90 percent due to direct availability of fertilizer to plants.

Drip Irrigation in Arid Agriculture
Drip Irrigation in Arid Agriculture

2. Zai Pits

Another efficient method of water conservation in arid agriculture systems is Zai Pits. These planting pits are made around the plants and trees to conserve water and moisture. The pits are prepared with hands. The excavated soil generated during digging is used to make small ridges around the pits. This helps in capturing maximum rain water. Usually these are 10 inches deep and wide and 3 feet apart (25cm x 25cm holes one meter apart). The objective is to trap rain water to increase moisture around the plant. It also aids in increasing soil fertility especially in dryland or arid regions where occurrence of crusty and degraded soil is common. These pits are then planted with a mixture of crop residues, compost, animal manure and seeds. These are then covered with mulch made of leaves or grass to conserve moisture. This simple looking technique can increase the agriculture produce by 50 percent within three years of practice.

Zai Pits
Zai Pits

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Agriculture Corner

Soil Pollution and Future Demands from Agriculture Sector


Soil pollution is a condition in which soil become rich in pollutants, contaminants and toxic materials and it poses threat to human life, agriculture, animals and other macro and microorganisms. In other words, soil pollution is the beginning of death of soil, failing to sustain any kind of production in terms of agriculture and wildlife on it. Arable land turns into desert land and threats food security ultimately.

Reasons of Soil Pollution

The reason of soil pollution is both natural and man-made. Global warming, climate change are regarded as natural factors of soil pollution while, excess usage of fertilizers, pesticides, weedicides and herbicides is damaging the natural order of soil, thus polluting it and making it weak. It is a global phenomenon that soils are becoming less and less productive and fertile due to degrading organic matter.

Natural Causes of Soil Pollution

Among many, common natural causes of soil pollution is the natural amassing of compounds in soil resulting from imbalances between atmospheric deposition and leaking away with precipitation water. This is common in arid environments where concentration and accumulation of per-chlorate in soils results in soil pollution.

In some cases, thunderstorm also creates environment for soil pollution. This happens when chlorine source or metallic objects present in the soil use energy generated from thunderstorm to generate per-chlorate in the soil.

Man-made Causes of Soil Pollution

  • Accident leaks and spills.
  • Mining activities.
  • Agricultural activities resulting in release of pesticide, fertilizer etc.
  • Transport activities releasing toxic smoke and emissions.
  • Cracked paint chips.
  • The storage of waste in landfills.

Soil Erosion Causing Death of Soil to Sustain Agriculture

Soil erosion is another factor causing soil pollution. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) stated recently that 75 billion tons of soil which is almost equivalent to 10 million hectares of land is lost due to erosion, water-logging and salination annually. On top of it, additional 20 million hectares of land is abandoned and not under any cultivation due to poor quality soil and degradation.

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Agriculture Corner

Proper Crop Selection for Arid or Dryland Agriculture


In Arid Agriculture or dryland farming systems, selection of proper crop is critical to generate healthy revenue. For selection of appropriate crop for your farm, there are numerous factors to be considered before actually entering into farming business. While farmers of irrigated land may select their crops on the basis of profitability, a dryland or arid farmer has to select appropriate crop considering two factors. These are

  • Adaptability in arid environment
  • Profitability

Thus an arid farmer has a lot on stake when it comes to farming. Any deviation in regular pattern of rainfall can bring loss to farmer’s investment. Agriculture is gambling, but arid agriculture is far more than just gambling. This article will discuss important factors that should be kept in mind before starting any agriculture activity in any arid zone of the world.

1. Ocular Screening of the Land

To start farming in arid lands, an ecological skimming should be carried out. This is not a technical thing. It just include a deep ocular scrutiny and other approaches to acquire evidences on the biotic factor that have direct or indirect link with the  plant growth and its yield, climatic conditions prevailing in the surrounding area, soil properties, infrastructural needs and accessibility. Summarizing, the rule should be to know your farm then select the right crop.

2. Disease History of the Area

Here it is important to mention that a biotic scan will aid in knowing any symptoms of diseases prevailing in the area. In the case of diseases, disease resistant varieties can be selected for farming and susceptible crops may be omitted.

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Vegetable Gardening

How to Grow Cucumber in Your Vegetable Garden?


Sorry for a long gap. I was busy in cleaning up my vegetable garden and preparing it for winters. My preference for winter is to cultivate underground veggies like Turnip, Radish, Garlic, Sugar Beet and Beet Root. I have prepared the raised beds now with added compost. However, keeping in view the vegetable gardening calendar, there is plenty of time left in winters for my Cucumbers to give me some more organic and fresh fruits. I have been growing Cucumber for the last 7 years and believe me they are so easy to grow and require less care. So today, I am going to write on how to grow Cucumbers in your vegetable garden?

Cucumber in Vegetable Garden

Without Cucumber, I feel my kitchen garden empty. Usually, I use my own seeds, saved from last year harvest. An advantage of having Cucumber in vegetable garden is that, they occupy less ground and vines can be propagated in any way you want. Vegetable garden looks greenish and soothing to eyes and its fruit gives you a fine style of health and happiness with a condition that you are using compost not the synthetic fertilizer. A Cucumber plant adds yellow flowers and curling tendrils to your vegetable garden.

Climatic and Soil Condition Required for Cucumbers

There are two types of Cucumber; the Bush Cucumbers and Vining Cucumber. I prefer Vining ones for vegetable gardens because of the foliage and less ground occupation plus the growth is fast and fruits are abundant than Bush variety.

Cucumber is usually warm season vegetable and thrives well when ground temperature is around 60 to 70 F. The soil pH should be around 7. A fertile soil is the chief demand by a Cucumber plant. Use compost for adding desired nutrients. You may also use aged manure for this purpose.

Sowing the Cucumber

For vegetable garden sowing, plant the seeds 1 inch deep in soil. The distance for Bush variety should be 30-60 inches and at least 1 foot distance should be maintained in case of Vine Cucumbers. For transplants, they should be sown 2 inches deep while distance should be same as mentioned earlier

Soil Condition

The soil requirement is moist and well drainage should be characteristic of the soil. Soggy soil is the enemy of your Cucumber plant. A soil, mixed with compost results in healthy and fast growth in vegetable garden.

Managing the Vines

A trellis is the best option for allowing the vines to climb especially when the space is an issue. Trellising is preferred to safeguard the fruit from damage from lying on the damp ground.

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Career in Agriculture

Introduction and Career in Food Technology


Food technology, yes the most favorite branch of female under-graduates to join. May be the trend differs in your country, but here in Pakistan, females of my batch and now my agriculture students are crazy to join this branch of agricultural science. In the agriculture degree program, Food Technology is consider as a premium specialization subject. If you are pursuing a career in agriculture, Food Technology is a good option.

There was a time a decade ago when I had to choose a subject to specialize among many others (horticulture, soil science, plant pathology, agriculture extension, agronomy etc.) at the end of 4th semester of B. Sc. (HONS.) Agricultural Program. My first choice was also food technology. However, later due to unavoidable circumstances, I selected Agricultural Economics. But that doesn’t mean food technology is not my favorite anymore. The reason is simple. My love for food is not a hidden truth. 🙂

Coming back to the topic, let me introduce you with food technology. It is a branch of agriculture (and in many cases it is also regarded as branch of food sciences) that deals with the practices of production that makes food. Many food scientists consider Nicolas Appert as a pioneer who laid foundation stone of food technology when he first tried to preserve food by a canning process in 1810. In fact early food tech. procedures were concerned more with food preservation. Then Louis Pasture’s work in 1864 on evading spoilage of wine paved the path to handle food in scientific manner.

Food technology is the application of food science for selection, processing, packaging, preservation and distribution of food in a safe mode. Now at this point, question arises, what is food science then? Well food science deals with physical, chemical and biological makeup of food. It also deals with exploring reasons of food deterioration. Summarizing, food science deals with the concepts that are underlying food processing as a whole.

Career in Food Technology

Food technology is a wide field of science. As far as its career opportunities are concerned, these are vast also. Why? Demand for food is never going to end. In fact, the demand will increase with the population explosion we are witnessing globally. With the inventions of innovative modes of food manufacturing, the taste of people is also changing.

In short, today demand of food from taste perspective is different and complex as compare to 2-3 decades ago. Similarly, features like quality control and quality assurance are also playing significant role in increasing demand of food scientists.

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Agriculture Corner

United States Land Grant Model: Lessons for Developing Countries


With the implementation of Morrill Land-Grants Act in 1862 during the presidential tenure of Abraham Lincoln, United States Land Grant Colleges and Universities of Agriculture were start establishing in the states, territories and bound of Unites States of America. It won’t be wrong to claim that, Unites States Land Grant Model opened a new horizon of research and development in agriculture sector of USA. On top of it, this model is intertwined with the opening of gates to a mediocre American to have an access to technical and higher education. 

Before moving ahead, let’s have a brief on what is Land Grant System? We know that government grant is anything having a value and is given by the Federal or central government to a non-federal unit with the objective to carry out activities of public interest as authorized by the government law.

In case of United States Land Grant system, it is the award of government owned land to a receiver with the condition that the land will be used for public purpose under the legislation of US. Public colleges and universities are the most prominent outcomes of land grant system.

The law bounded the awardees of government land to either built a college or university (for agriculture and mechanic arts) or sold the land, and use the money to build at least one college for agriculture or mechanic arts. As the time passed, the dynamics of higher education and agriculture sector changed in USA and this also impacted on the land grant colleges that responded to this change by upgrading to universities.

Today, this 150 years old model is supporting USA economy by providing state of the art and world class research output, educational facilities, innovative public outreach programs and extension schemes that have strengthen the rural communities. As a result, community members have become the drivers of change by producing superior quality food, fiber along with renewable fuel systems to face the new challenges at national and global stages.

These colleges and universities under land grand model are now primary source of policy input to US government in research, education and extension services, thus creating an enabling environment to face 21st century challenges.

Can Third World Countries Agricultural System Withstand Challenges of 21st Century?

The most common missing link in any sector of economy in a third world nation is the element of ‘Planning’. Planning is at the core of achieving any goal. However, this habit has to be changed if governments in third world want their citizens to have access to safe and nutritious food along with sustainable livelihoods.

Another limiting factor that hinders the process of planning in third world nations is the access to capital and technology. For planning, research is needed to answer the unanswered queries. And for research funds are required. With weaker economies, it is difficult for third world nations to make a cut on other expenses and divert the funds towards research and ultimately planning. The viable option left is to learn from the successful stories and models round the globe.

Almost all the third world countries on the globe have agricultural based economies. Without innovation and technological advancement, it is hard to withstand 21st century challenges. Some notable challenges to agriculture sector in the 21st century include;  

  1. Climate change
  2. Population explosion
  3. Food insecurity
  4. Water scarcity for irrigation purpose
  5. Introduction of new diseases and pest on agricultural fields
  6. Orthodox extension methodologies
  7. Lack of research for new crop varieties.

Unites States Land Grants Model is Best Suited to Third World Countries

As mentioned earlier, that poor agriculture based nations have viable option of learning from global successful models. Land grant model is suited to the economic conditions of these countries in many ways;

  1. Government has to spend nothing on its part. They can award the government owned lands to follow a grass root level approach for agricultural development.
  2. USA land grant universities are also supporting third world countries that are ready to adopt land grant model by proving technical assistance, scientific trainings and hands on instruction.
  3. Land grand model can aid in uplifting the higher education and literacy rate in the country.
  4. Government can provide seed money to the trained graduates from land grant education system so that they can become entrepreneurs to generate further employment opportunities.
  5. Eventually, not only livelihoods of the people will increase but economy will also witness boom.

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, September 19). United States Land Grant College of Agriculture: Lessons for Developing Countries [Blog Post]. Retrieved from [/box]


Agriculture Corner

Innovative Water Resource Management in Agriculture


Water is the basic need of life and one of the core elements of sustainability of living beings on planet earth. We have learnt since our childhood that 70 percent of earth surface is covered by water. However, the dilemma is, this large mass of water is not fit for human consumption and agricultural purposes. We are only available with 1 percent of fresh water resources to fulfill our drinking and other farming needs. This situation demands wise and innovative water resource management in agriculture and other sectors of daily life.

Now, I want to divert the focus of my readers towards the population explosion aspect that we are facing for the past 2-3 decades. Population on the globe has increased at an exponential rate. There has been a dramatic escalation of population graph line if you plot years and population number on a graph as shown below.

Population on Earth

Source: United Nations World Population Prospects

The above graph is quite self-explanatory that how we are expanding. Within a century, we have added almost 5 billion people and in coming 2-3 decade, we will be around 9 billion. This fast phase population explosion is on the other hand exerting pressure on the limited resources of the earth. Similarly, food demand is on a high and it will get increase in future as we are adding more mouths to our food basket.  

Now when we link the water availability situation with population, a dark picture comes out as a result. As stated earlier, we are bestowed with only one 1 percent fresh water resources by nature and this resource is limited. On top of it, we are wasting water criminally in domestic and agricultural purposes, thus creating a difficult situation for our coming generations. Water resources are also facing another pressure from the changing climate. Changing rainfall and temperature patterns due to climate change are affecting negatively on water resources. So importance of innovative water resource management in agriculture increases many folds.

Widening Gap of Water Demand and Population

Over the years, because of the factors discussed in previous lines, per capital water availability of water has reduced. In some parts of the world, it has crossed the red line. There is a widening gap between the water demand and population as presented in graph below.

Water Demand and Population


The reason for which I build the case so far is that the changing dynamics of water, climate and population needs new and innovative measures to tackle in order to have sustainability in all forms of life, especially in agriculture. Out of the box approach is needed to address all the issues.

What is Innovative Water Resource Management?

Innovative Water Resource Management is the set of management techniques that include cutting-edge knowledge and innovative approaches including an in-depth understanding of the inherent economic, scientific, social and environmental aspects to manage water resources for its sustainable consumption and to ensure the healthy recharge of water resources.

The advanced countries of the world are investing a great deal on planning and development of Innovative Water Resource Management techniques to ensure minimal water loses and enhanced water use efficiency.

The current trend of water use that is widely practiced in various parts of the world including Asia and Africa is the usage of water only once and then disposal. This trend is harmful and has created water scarce situation in many areas. Innovative Water Resource Management emphasizes more on reuse of available water through processing treatments.

Innovative Water Resource Management from Agriculture Perspective

Water lose in agriculture is lot more as compare to other sectors of the economy. Especially in third world countries, due to lack of technology, water is still used in traditional ways of irrigation in farming that results in excess loss. There are several innovative techniques now available globally to ensure water resource management in agriculture sector.

Though these technologies are expensive, however, their indigenized area specific versions have been developed, keeping in mind the local needs and budget. These are proven beneficial both for farmers and from water management perspective. Some of these Innovative Water Resource Management techniques included;

  1. Hydroponic system to grow vegetables on a media that is water use efficient.

Hydroponic system
  1. Smart Rain Water Harvesting System by building community level small dams to collect rain water for its usage in irrigation.
Smart Rain Water Harvesting System
  1. Usage of Precision / Laser Land Leveling to Conserve Water.
Laser Land Leveling to Conserve Water
  1. Bed and Furrow Planting
Bed and Furrow Planting
  1. Flexible gated pipe irrigation system
Flexible gated pipe irrigation system
  1. Optimizing Watercourse Conveyance Efficiency through Enhancing Lining Length

  1. Spat Irrigation
Spat Irrigation

This innovative water management technique is an art as well as science which is especially designed and unique to semi-arid environments.

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, September 18). Innovative Water Resource Management in Agriculture [Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]



Vegetable Gardening

How to Grow Lettuce Leaves in a Container?


Today, I am going to share my experience of how to grow lettuce in a container placed anywhere in your kitchen or vegetable garden. Lettuce is a kind of vegetable that can be grown all-round the year in any climatic conditions. On top of it, its nutritious value is high and is best suited food ingredient for people who are on a diet. Low in saturated fats and sodium, lettuce is rich in;

  • Thiamin
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B6
  • Potassium

In addition to this, it is a good supplier of;

  • Dietary Fiber
  • Folate
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K

Vegetable Gardening for Beginners: a Complete Guide

Lettuce in Urban Gardening Containers

Urban gardening is gaining popularity these days as it can add a joyous activity in your daily busy and hectic life. On the other hand, it also adds fresh and juicy vegetables for your meals and a healthy life style.


Salads are a vital part of our food, offering lots of valuable vitamins with least calories, thus ideal food for diet conscious people. For this purpose, lettuce are easy to grow in container of your vegetable garden that will return you with multiple harvests. Growing lettuce in kitchen garden can be an amazing experience for the beginners.

Below lines will guide you with the steps of how to grow lettuce in a container of your kitchen garden.

What do you Need?

Lettuce plant allows you multiple harvests, i.e. as you collect the leaves, new ones grow in place of older. For this reason, it is very important to have;

  • Proper quality potting soil
  • Good quality seeds.
  • Right size container

Recommended Container & Potting Soil for Growing Lettuce

Soil: First step in how to grow lettuce is the selection of proper soil. Good quality potting soil is available in the near nursery store while many online stores also offer potting soils for lettuce. Just be sure that potting soil for lettuce should have a mix of soil, peat or compost and vermiculite or perlite. This soil mix allows good water retention that is best suited for lettuce in containers.

Seeds: There are various varieties available for growing lettuce in a container. In fact when you search for a variety of lettuce, you will be amazed that there are endless varieties of lettuce available. My recommendation is to select the variety you like the most. This is because, different varieties taste differently. Among many, you can chose;

  • Crisphead
  • Butterhead
  • Lose leaf
  • Summer Crisp
  • Little Gem
Lettuce Varieties for Container Farming

What I have grown in container of my vegetable garden is Little Gem variety. This variety was originated in France. You will find this variety crunchy, sweet in taste with miniature heads of lettuce that are full of nooks and crannies.  Little Gem variety of lettuce is best for salad dressing and can be cooked for food.

Container: The container should have an appropriate size with drainage holes. My container size is 12 inch and it has already given me 3 harvests and still lettuce plants are performing well. The container should have appropriate size because as the lettuce plant grows the root system also expands.

Growing Lettuce in a Container

Sowing the Lettuce

Now you have reached the most important phase of growing lettuce in container. Choose the place that has good access to sunlight. Lettuce loves sunlight. Its large green leaves love to do photosynthesis a lot. So it is highly recommended to move the container into a brighter space with at least 8 hours sunlight access.

Now moving to the sowing phase, fill your container with potting soil up to an inch or even two centimeters below the rim. For direct sowing, place the seed 1/4 to 1/2 half inch deep and then cover with soil. The soil should be moistened.

It is recommended to sow your seeds 4 to 6 inches apart. on the contrary, I have sown my Little Gem lettuce seeds 3 inch apart and I am getting good produce of lettuce in container. However, if you are planning to cultivate Lose Leaf variety of lettuce, 4-6 inch distance is a must. Remember that the seedbed of your lettuce in container never dry out.

Sowing Lettuce Seeds

Caring the Growing Lettuce in Container

Now you have passed the important steps of growing lettuce in a container. Wait for germination. Usually it takes 5 to 10 days for germinating. Your newly born tiny lettuce plants need your care. Following are few points that should be taken care of while growing lettuce in a container.

  • Never add synthetic fertilizer to your lettuce in container of urban garden. The objective of having fresh and organic vegetable garden grown lettuce will die at the moment you add a pinch of fertilizer. So avoid it. The potting soil is already rich in nutrients.
  • Add compost ‘if’ needed.

Prepare Your Compost at Home. How? Here is my DIY Article on Making Compost at Home

  • If temperature is around your kitchen garden is more than 30oC, move your container to a shady place. This is the biggest advantage of growing lettuce in a container to customize it in any manner you need.
  • Avoid drying of soil in your lettuce container.

Believe me, the result of all the previous steps and caring you will add to the growing lettuce in container will result in lush green and healthy lettuce leaves. They will be ready to cut right after six weeks after sowing. You can harvest them with a sharp knife but try to harvest little, just the amount you needed.

Germinating Lettuce

 Hey Guys, don’t forget to like and share this post below. It will be a boost-up for me.

Happy Growing and Eating 🙂

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, September 16). How to Grow Lettuce Leaves In a Container? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]