How Lettuce Is Planted, Grown, And Harvested

lettuce

Emma Downey

Emma Downey
Gardening Expert

Updated on 12/4/2022

You haven't lived until you've sampled lettuce freshly picked from your garden. The alternative purchased in stores cannot compare to this one in terms of flavor or the amount of vitamin A it contains. This article will provide information on plant lettuce, cultivate, harvest, and store it.

About Lettuce

In most areas, spring and fall are the best times to plant lettuce since it is a crop that thrives in cooler temperatures. This is an excellent crop for those who have little or no prior experience since it can be put by seed directly into the soil as soon as the land can be handled. Because lettuce matures so rapidly, the best way to cultivate it is by sowing a limited number of seeds at a time and spacing out the subsequent plants.

As long as the plants are given adequate water, lettuce is an excellent leafy green to employ since it matures rapidly, produces leaves for an extended period, and does not place a high demand on its growers. Additionally, lettuce grows well on raised beds, making it an excellent choice for growing in restricted areas. Lettuce grows exceptionally well in containers, making it an ideal plant for producing on decks, patios, balconies, and porches.

lettuce

A site that receives between five and six hours of direct sunlight is ideal for growing lettuce, but the plant may benefit from afternoon shade in hotter climates. The soil needs some give, sufficient drainage, and moisture without becoming waterlogged. In the weeks following planting, amend the ground with a substantial amount of compost to increase its fertility.

When Should Lettuce Be Planted?

  • The optimal temperature for the soil is between 7 and 18 degrees Celsius (45 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit). Plants that have been bred to withstand colder temperatures are called cold-adapted.
  • It is advisable to plant the seeds directly in the soil two to four weeks before the last spring frost or as soon as the ground may be handled after the ice has passed.
  • You may also start seeds indoors approximately one month before the date of your area'sarea's last spring frost to gain a head start. Before transplanting seedlings outside, you should let them acclimate for anywhere between three days and a week.
  • Planting can occur anytime between two weeks before your area'sarea's last spring frost and two weeks after your area'sarea's last spring frost if you have purchased transplants, also known as tiny plants, from a garden store or nursery.
  • In most geographic areas, it is feasible to sow a second crop of lettuce in the fall or even in the early winter months. The dates for planting can be found on our Planting Calendar.

lettuce

Tip: If you want to grow a crop in the fall, produce chilly soil in late August by moistening the ground and covering it with a bale of straw. This will allow the soil to retain its cool temperature. After one week, the soil beneath the bale will be around 10 degrees Fahrenheit (about 6 degrees Celsius) colder than the soil in the rest of the garden. Plant a row of lettuce seeds every two to three weeks, spacing them out at a distance of three feet; move the straw bale around the garden.

How To Start A Lettuce Garden

Because the seeds are so minute, it is critical to have a seedbed that has been well tilled. The germination process will be hampered by the presence of stones and vast clods of soil.

Plant seeds 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch deep. Because lettuce seeds must have access to light to germinate, you shouldn'tshouldn't plant them too deeply.

You may spread the seed in individual rows or distribute it for wide-row planting (loose-leaf varieties are best for this). When using broadcasting, it is necessary to thin seedlings that have reached a height of one to two inches.

lettuce

Spacing between plants varies on the variety:

  • Plant or thin loose-leaf lettuce to a distance of four inches apart.
  • Plant or thin Romaine lettuce (cos) and butterhead lettuce (loose-head, Bibb, Boston) to a distance of 8 inches between each head.
  • Plant crisphead lettuce (also known as iceberg lettuce) with a spacing of 16 inches between each charge.
  • Place lettuce in rows that are 12 to 15 inches apart.
  • Plant new seeds approximately once every two weeks to ensure a steady product supply.
  • If you want to keep aphids away from your lettuce, you might consider sowing rows of chives or garlic between the plants. They serve the lettuce as "barrier plants" in the garden.
  • When transplanting or sowing seeds, thoroughly saturate the soil with water using a mist nozzle.

Cooling the soil in August by wetting it and covering it with a bale of straw can help ensure a successful harvest in the fall. After one week, the ground beneath the bale should be a few degrees colder than the rest of the garden and be ready to be sowed with a row of lettuce two feet in length. Proceed with the technique once every two weeks by moving the straw bale around the garden in a circular motion. Continue to sow seeds according to your routine to ensure a successful harvest in the fall.

Growing

lettuce

At the beginning of the growing season, you may expedite the transplanting process by covering the young plants with a makeshift cloche from milk cartons without bottoms or plastic bottles. Your seedlings will be better able to acclimate to their environment if you protect them from the chill with these. A row cover or a fleece placed over recently planted lettuces might also assist the crop.

  • Fertilize three weeks after the plants have been transplanted, and treat the soil with organic alfalfa meal or another slow-release fertilizer to provide a continuous supply of nitrogen.
  • Take care to keep the soil damp without allowing it to become soaked. It ought should drain rather well. A pathogen or weak growth might result from over-irrigation.
  • When it needs water, lettuce will let you know. Could you take a good look at it? Sprinkle the leaves whenever necessary, even in the middle of the day, to prevent the leaves from overheating and reduce the amount of transpiration. Keeping lettuce from drying out in the sun may also be helped by using row covers on your plants.
  • During the warmer months, using an organic mulch will assist in preserving moisture, suppressing weeds, and maintaining a cool soil temperature.
  • If necessary, remove weeds by hand, but do so with caution so as not to harm the weak roots of your lettuce plants.

How To Put Off The Bolting

lettuce

  • A typical issue that can be brought on by high weather (over 20 degrees Celsius/70 degrees Fahrenheit) or shifts in the length of the day is bolting. When a lettuce plant begins to escape, it will grow a central stem and a seed stalk, and the leaves taste bitter.
  • Covering plants with shade cloth to receive filtered light will prevent the plants from bolting as quickly. Be careful to keep up the watering throughout the growing season, even during the hottest sections of the season.
  • It'sIt's possible that positioning your garden plant so that taller plants, like tomatoes or sweet corn, can provide shade to your lettuce during the hottest part of the summer might help prevent it from bolting.
  • Lettuce kept in a cold frame.
  • Lettuce is an excellent vegetable to cultivate in a cold-frame garden.

The following are some of our most favored types:

  • Great Lakes, Ithaca, King Crown, Mission, and Summertime, are some of the Crisphead varieties.
  • "Burpee Bibb," Cosmo Savoy," Green Towers," Little Gem," Paris White Cos," Parris Island," and "Valmaine" are some of the varieties of Romaine (Cos) and Butterhead.
  • Black Seeded Simpson, Green Ice, Ibis, Lollo Rossa, Oak Leaf, Prizehead, Salad Bowl, and Slobolt are among the strains available in loose-leaf format.
  • "New Red Fire," Red Sails," and "Ruby Red" are all Red Leaf songs. (Red pigment should be avoided in regions with high temperatures since it has a higher capacity to absorb heat.)

Harvesting

lettuce

  • When the lettuce is at its full size but is still young and fragile, harvest it in the morning. Make sure you check your garden daily for leaves ready to be harvested; too ripe lettuce becomes bitter and woody and deteriorates rapidly.
  • You may harvest leaf lettuce before it reaches maturity by simply cutting the outer leaves from the plant so that the core leaves can continue to develop.
  • Remove the outer leaves of butterhead, romaine, and loose-leaf kinds of lettuce before harvesting them. Alternatively, dig up the entire plant and chop it off about an inch above the soil level. When employing either the first or third approach, there is a good chance of getting a second harvest.
  • When the core of the lettuce has reached the desired degree of firmness, it may be harvested.

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The Proper Way To Keep Lettuce

  • You may keep lettuce in the refrigerator for up to ten days if you place it in a plastic bag without being sealed.
  • When ready to utilize the picked lettuce, soak it in ice water for a few minutes before using it. After that, place the lettuce in a salad spinner or on a cloth. To drain excess water from the lettuce, spin the salad spinner.
  • Have the lettuce leaves become limp? Place the leaves in a dish, add ice cubes and cold water, and allow them to soak for approximately 15 minutes.

Wisdom And Creativity

Have you heard that lettuce and sunflowers come from the same family? They are both members of the Asteraceae family, also known as the "daisy" family.

"Lettuce is like conversation; it must be fresh and crisp, so bright that you hardly detect the bitter in it," says an old proverb. — Charles Dudley Warner, an American author, from his book "My Summer in a Garden" (1829-1900)

lettuce

A stress-relieving and relaxing effect on the body may be achieved by eating lettuce for supper.

Embrace the dark, lush greens in your diet! By reading this article, you can learn more about the health advantages of going green and how to cultivate various salad greens in your yard.

Lettuce Pests And Diseases

Pest/DiseaseTypeSymptomsControl/Prevention
AphidsInsectMisshapen/yellow leaves; sticky “honeydew” (excrement); sooty, black moldPlace banana or orange peels around plants; wipe leaves with a 1 to 2 percent solution of dish soap (no additives) and water every 2 to 3 days for two weeks; grow companion plants; knock off with water spray; use insecticidal soap; spray with water; put a banana or orange peels around plants; Include native plants in your garden to attract good bugs.
CutwormsInsectWilting; severed stems of seedlings and transplants just above or below soil line; whole seedlings disappearPicking them by hand; in the spring, before planting, cultivating the soil to limit the number of larvae; Place a collar made of cardboard or newspaper that is four inches wide around each stem, and then bury it two inches into the earth. weed; cover the rows with plastic; destroy crop residue
EarwigsInsectMany small holes in leaves/stemsTo make an earwig trap, just place a tuna can in the dirt, fill it with about half an inch of fish oil, and sink it to the point where the edge is just slightly higher than the ground level. remove plant detritus
Lettuce mosaic virusVirusLeaves may show green mottling or brown spots and can be distorted, blistered, curled backward; plants stunted; heads may be distorted or fail to formEliminate diseased plants, select resistant types and seeds tested and certified virus-free, use row covers, sanitize garden equipment, weed, and manage aphid populations.
Powdery mildewFungusWhite spots on upper leaf surfaces expand to flour-like coating over entire leaves; foliage may yellow/die; distortion/stunting of leavesDestroy sick leaves on plants, pick resistant kinds, put them in direct sunlight if feasible, and ensure adequate air circulation. Spritz plants with a mixture of one teaspoon of baking soda and one liter of water that has been dissolved. destroy crop residue
Slugs/snailsMolluskIrregular holes in leaves; slimy secretion on plants/soil; seedlings “disappear”Handpicking; avoiding heavy bark mulch; using copper plant collars; avoiding overhead watering; laying boards over the soil in the evening, and then getting rid of any pests that are "hiding" with hot, soapy water in the morning; to commit suicide by drowning in a deep container that was either filled with half an inch of beer or sugar water mixed with yeast and then sank such that the top edge was slightly above the earth; Apply a barrier consisting of a strip of diatomaceous ground with a width of one inch.
White moldFungusPale gray, “water-soaked” areas on stems, leaves, and other plant parts that enlarge and develop white, cottony growth, later with black particles; bleached areas; plants wilt/collapseEradicate sick plants, provide excellent air circulation, water in the morning, weed, and destroy crop residue; crop rotation on cycles of five years or longer may also be helpful.
WhitefliesInsectSticky “honeydew” (excrement); sooty, black mold; yellow/silver areas on leaves; wilted/stunted plants; distortion; adults fly if disturbed; some species transmit virusesRemove any leaves or plants that have been affected, use a handheld vacuum to get rid of the bugs, and sprinkle water on the undersides of the leaves in the morning and evening to get rid of the pests. Use yellow sticky traps to keep an eye on the adults; insecticidal soap should be sprayed, and native plants should be used to attract hummingbirds and other beneficial insects. weed diligently; utilize reflective mulch

Recipes

Beef And Rice Lettuce Cups

Beef And Rice Lettuce Cups

Try these Beef and Rice Lettuce Cups if you are searching for something unusual to break up the monotony of typical ground beef dishes. These lettuce cups are filled with ground beef and rice. The combination of the brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce results in a singular and tangy taste.

Ingredients

  • 1 kilogram of minced beef
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • One teaspoonful of dark brown sugar
  • a minimal amount of garlic powder
  • According to your preference, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
  • cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
  • One green bell pepper, chopped.
  • a half a cup of chopped onion
  • 1 cup of rice that has been cooked, butter lettuce that has been split into leaves

Instructions

Cook the meat in Worcestershire sauce in a pan over medium heat until it is browned. After adding the brown sugar and spices:

  1. Continue to boil for another ten minutes.
  2. Simmer with the peppers and onions for 5 to 10 minutes after adding them.
  3. After adding rice, whisk everything together thoroughly.
  4. Place the meat mixture in the cups made from the lettuce, and serve.

Blue Cheese And Chicken Salad To Start.

Blue Cheese And Chicken Salad

Blue cheese on a salad made with chicken? I don'tdon't see why not! Savory salad results from the mix of tastes brought together here. The meat from a rotisserie chicken you bought at the grocery will simplify this already easy dish.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of cooked chicken cut into cubes 13 cups of crumbled Roquefort or Blue Cheese
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts that have been roughly chopped.
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of vinegar made from red wine
  • One clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • a half a cup of finely sliced onions or shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 10 cups of romaine lettuce split into pieces (bite-size pieces)
  • Four avocados, cut for decorating the plate.
  • One big sliced red onion, to be used as a garnish
  • Four oranges, cut for decoration on top.

Instructions

In a bowl, combine the chopped chicken with the Cheese and walnuts. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, shallots, salt, and pepper in a separate, more intimate bowl. Whisk until everything is well blended. Pour over the chicken, then toss to combine the ingredients. Arrange the lettuce in a pleasing pattern on the platter. Place the salad in a mound on top. Oranges, avocados, and red onions should be used as garnishes for the dish. Note that you should only slice the avocado as a garnish if it is consumed immediately. In any other case, hold off till the serving.

Seven-Layer Salad

Seven-Layer Salad

When put in a bowl made of transparent glass, this beautiful Seven-Layer Salad looks at its very best. Because this salad has to be prepared around 8 hours before it is served, it is an excellent choice to bring to potlucks and church suppers when you don't have a lot of time to devote to making a lot of last-minute preparations.

  • One head of lettuce, torn into smaller pieces, as an ingredient
  • 1 ounce of chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup of finely chopped celery
  • 1 ounce of chopped onion
  • 1 and 1/4 cups of frozen peas, thawed and chopped
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • One tablespoon sugar
  • Six pieces of bacon crumbled after cooking.
  • a third of a cup of cheddar cheese

Instructions

Put the lettuce into a dish that is see-through for the salad. On top of the lettuce, create a layer consisting of peppers, celery, onions, and peas in the specified sequence. Place a covering of mayonnaise over the peas. Mayonnaise will have sugar on top, then bacon, and finally, the Cheese will go on top. Before serving, wrap securely in plastic, then place in the refrigerator for at least eight hours.

Cobb Salad Platter

Cobb Salad Platter

What can you do with hard-boiled eggs? Have some chicken, eggs, tomatoes, avocados, corn, and black beans in a Cobb salad the way it was meant to be eaten. You may either line them up in rows or mix everything!

You may spin this Cobb salad by switching up the components or changing the proportions of the individual members. Ranch dressing or BBQ ranch dressing might be served on the side as an accompaniment. The following is an excellent recipe for Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, which can also be used as a dip! This dish is adapted from The Old Farmer'sFarmer's Almanac Comfort Food Cookbook. Thus all credit goes to them.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a head of iceberg lettuce, cut very roughly
  • 3 to 4 cups of bite-size chunks of chicken that have been cooked
  • 4 or 5 eggs that have been cooked and then peeled, then sliced or quartered lengthwise
  • Three medium tomatoes, each cut into six or eight wedges; one or two ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced; three tomatoes, sliced into wedges;
  • 2 cups of corn kernels, which have been previously cooked, drained and patted dry
  • One can of black beans, drained and rinsed (this contains 16 ounces).
  • 1 to 2 cups of pepper that has been coarsely diced Cheese, either Jack or Monterey Jack
  • a half a cup of black olives halved
  • several pieces of bacon that have been fried to a crisp and then crushed (optional)

Instructions

Place a single row of lettuce down the middle of a big dish and arrange it. Set out rows of chicken, eggs, tomatoes, avocados, corn, and black beans on either side of the plate. (If you use a circular plate, mound the lettuce in the middle, then place the remaining components in concentric circles around it.)