How to Grow Lettuce
and Great Lettuce Varieties
Learn how to grow lettuce and have access to great tasting lettuce for your salads.
Also, learn how to create an abundance of lettuce seeds for the next growing season.
Successfully growing lettuce can be made easier with certain types of lettuce varieties.
And there are many types of lettuce to grow.
Planting lettuce in a container enables you to grow lettuce on your deck or patio.
This is one way of how to grow lettuce that almost anyone will be able to accomplish.
Knowing which ones are more heat tolerant will ensure greater success in warmer climates or during the summer months.
Learn how to grow lettuce and harvest an abundant supply of lettuce seeds each year to share with your friends and family.
How to Grow Lettuce - The Basics
- Lettuce should be grown in well-drained soil with a good amount of organic content and soil should not be too acidic or lumpy
- Plant your lettuce seeds in a sunny area or in an area with partial shade
- Space seeds (approx. 6 inches apart to avoid transplanting) - this will depend on whether you are planting leaf or head lettuce
- Cover seeds with 1/8 to 1/4 inch of top soil and
moisten soil with water - make sure your lettuce seeds stay moist until
- Seeds will germinate in 2 to 10 days
- Leaf lettuce
takes approx. 40 days from seed to harvest and head lettuce approx. 70
days from seed to harvest
- Lettuce plants hate being moved, so thinning out seedlings may be better than transplanting lettuce
- Lettuce will benefit from a good layer of mulch as lettuce is shallowly rooted and can be easily uprooted
- Lettuce is tolerant to some frost and light freezes
- Too hot or dry conditions may cause your lettuce plants to turn bitter and bolt to flower
How to Grow Lettuce almost Year Round: Just be sure to stagger your plantings and you will have a steady supply of lettuce throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
Tips for Growing Lettuce
Growing lettuce is relatively easy as long as you meet its basic growing
Lettuce in general are cool weather plants and the
easiest time to grow lettuce is in the early spring or fall.
However, certain lettuce varieties will grow better than others
in the summer as long as you can find a way to shade your plants to extend
lettuce production in the hot summer months.
You can plant seeds as soon as the ground is no longer frozen.
Lettuce seeds can germinate in moderate to cool temperatures with a soil
temperature of approximately 70 degrees F.
Lettuce also prefers the soil to be moist at all times.
However, plants grown in really soggy soil will be susceptible to
disease or mold, so frequent short waterings may be best for your
Planting Lettuce in a Container
Lettuce will not do well with weeds or garden pests such as slugs.
One option is growing lettuce in containers up off the ground and locate them on porches, patios, or even on window sills.
This is a great idea for people that do not have a lot of land or prefer easier access to their food supply.
You can also start by planting lettuce seeds indoors several
weeks prior to the last frost in your area and then move them outdoors
when it gets warmer.
Great Lettuce Varieties
Buttercrunch Lettuce - this type of lettuce forms a loose head and is a very popular choice for salads.
It's considered a "cut and come again" lettuce. And has sweet tasting leaves.
And it's a heat
tolerant type of lettuce.
Jericho Lettuce - this type of lettuce is considered a romaine
Has large thick bright green leaves that grow upright and has tasty crunchy leaves.
A "cut and come again" lettuce that is also heat
Red Oak Leaf Lettuce - this type of lettuce has loose leaves that resemble
an oak leaf.
Another "cut and come again" lettuce that is slow to
bolt to flower.
Will hold its mild flavor and tender leaves throughout growing season.
These are a few of the more popular and well known lettuce varieties,
but also give one of the less known varieties a try every now and then.
There are hundreds of lettuce varieties, but for the sake of
simplicity - lettuce can be categorized as either loose leaf or head
Loose leaf lettuce does not form a tight head or ball like head lettuce.
Loose leaf lettuce is also the easiest to grow and can be used as a "Cut and Come Again" type of lettuce.
Harvesting Lettuce Leaves
How to grow lettuce throughout the growing season is probably best done
by planting leaf lettuce as it grows very quickly.
You can plant it
throughout the season and harvest lettuce continuously throughout
Leaf lettuce can mature in as soon as 6 weeks and are considered "Cut and Come Again" plants.
Therefore, you can harvest leaf lettuce by snipping off the outer leaves as soon as they are large enough for eating.
Or you can take the whole plant by cutting off at about 1 inch above ground level - then let it regrow.
Leaf lettuce can be harvested over a longer period of time when
compared to harvesting head lettuce.
Harvesting head lettuce basically requires you to pull
the entire plant from the soil when the heads have reached full size.
Just remember that overly ripened leaf lettuce is not really edible because they have a tendency to get tough and bitter.
Also, remember to harvest lettuce early in the morning when the leaves are firmer.
You can then store your fresh picked lettuce leaves in a plastic bag in your refrigerator for a week or two.
And they will be very easy to access for your salads.
Harvesting Lettuce Seeds
You can harvest lettuce seeds any time after the flowers die back. You can just pick or cut off from the stalk and separate seeds from any debris.
Make sure the seeds are completely dry and then store them in a cool dry area until you are ready for planting lettuce again.
Learning how to grow lettuce can be a great pleasure and by growing your own food, you can control the quality of your food.
As the saying goes - You are What you Eat!
Go to How to Grow Basil
Return to Planting a Garden