Lettuce is one of those crops whose fresh-picked taste simply can’t be equaled by anything you can buy at the grocery store.
- Do NOT plant in full sun location – lettuce like a light shade, especially in the midday.
- Cool, moist, well-drained soil is preferable.
- Till the soil and remove any roots, rocks and other debris. Mix in a good compost to enrich the soil.
- Soil pH of 6.0 to 6.5 is preferred.
- Cool weather works best, so grow in the spring or fall for best results.
- Likes daytime temperatures around 70° F to germinate.
- Protect from sun and wind the first few days after planting.
- For a longer harvest, plant every 7-10 days.
- Lettuce have a shallow root system so needs regular watering.
- Bolting will occur if the plants dry out.
- Water at the plants base rather than over the leaves as watering the leaves can promote diseases.
- If soil is fertile, no fertilizer is necessary.
- If lettuce looks like it is ready to bolt, pull it out of the ground, roots and all, and replant. This shock to its system will slow the growth.
- Should be harvested before it begins to flower. After flowering, the taste becomes bitter.
- Crisp head lettuce (Summertime) should be harvested when the center of the plant is firm.
- To harvest the whole head, simply cut the lettuce just above the soil line with a sharp knife.
- Use outside leaves first and leave young, inner leaves to develop further if just want a few leaves.
- Harvest in the morning after plants have had all night to plump up with water. Wilted lettuce picked on a hot day usually don’t revive.
- Garden Trowel
- Garden Hose or Watering Can
- Sharp Knife
- Homegrown Gourmet Lettuce Plants
- Gardening Gloves
We grow three types of lettuce in our Homegrown Gourmet program (Loose-leaf, Romaine, Head).
Loose-leaf — (Red Salad Bowl) — grow tender leaves in dense rosettes but seldom form crisp inner heads.
Romaine — (Freckles) — Elongated leaves with stiff ribs. Often tolerate stressful weather better than other types.
Head — (Summertime) — These varieties have great flavor and are easy to grow.
The oldest known type of lettuce is probably similar to what is now called Prickly Lettuce. Wild lettuce, dating as far back as 4500 B.C. had bitter but edible leaves and its milky sap was taken from the stem and used to help insomnia and relieve rashes.
Did You Know… —
If you harvest lettuce in the morning, it will have a higher sugar content than if harvested in the afternoon.