How to Plant Lettuce: A Guide to Growing & Harvesting Lettuce

Are you ready to learn how to plant lettuce ? This popular salad greens is one of the easiest crops to grow in garden beds and containers and is ideal for spring and fall harvest. Plus, it ’ s a rapid crop with child greens ready to pick around a calendar month from seeding and broad heads in two months or less .

In our kin, we eat a fortune of salads and if you ’ rhenium buying lettuce at the supermarket, the monetary value quickly adds up. Growing your own lettuce is an easy way to save on grocery store bills and love months of homegrown organic greens .
Spring salad greens

Types of lettuce

There are many types of lettuce you can plant. I ’ m a boastfully winnow of leaf boodle because it grows so promptly and you can harvest from each plant for weeks, but there are a distribute of varieties available in semen catalogs and on seeded player racks :

  • Looseleaf – Looseleaf lettuce is among the easiest to grow. It’s also super speedy, forming large loose heads in just five to six weeks.
  • Oakleaf – I grow oakleaf lettuces as a leaf lettuce, harvesting often from the plants as they grow. If left to mature, they will eventually form full-sized heads. The leaves are lobed like oak leaves, and can be green or red, depending on the variety.
  • Romaine – An essential ingredient in Caesar salad, romaine lettuce plants form tight, upright heads of crisp leaves.
  • Butterhead – Butterhead lettuce, also known as Boston or Bibb, forms lovely loose heads of tender crisp leaves. There are heat tolerant varieties of butterhead that can be grown in summer, as well as cold tolerant varieties for winter harvesting.
  • Iceberg – Iceberg, or crisphead lettuce has a reputation for being hard to grow but I’ve had no problem growing it in my raised beds.
  • Summer crisp – Initially summer crisp, or Batavia type lettuces look a lot like looseleaf varieties. But as they mature, they form beautiful rounded heads. There are many heat-tolerant varieties well suited to summer growing.

There are many varieties of lettuce to plant

Growing a lettuce garden

Lettuce is a cool weather crop and is best grown in spring and fall. The seeds germinate in temperatures ampere low as 40 F ( 4 C ) but its ideal germination and growing temperature is between 60 and 65 F ( 16 to 18 C ) .
To grow bang-up lettuce, find a web site that offers at least six to eight hours of steer sun. It is potential to grow lettuce in overtone shade ( three to four hours of sunday ), but in low light I would suggest planting looseleaf varieties which grow faster than heading types. once you ’ ve picked your spot, prepare the seam for planting by digging in an column inch or two of compost or aged manure. If you like, you can besides dig in a dull release organic fertilizer at this time .
Lettuce besides makes a fantastic container plant. It produces a shallow settle system and can be grown in this cool Vegtrug 8 pocket herb garden, window-boxes, pots, framework planters, baskets, or any container that is at least four to six inches deep and has drain holes .
To get a chute start on the lettuce harvest, I cover my early bounce garden beds with framework or formative covered mini tunnels. These capture solar energy and protect from cool temperatures and frost .
Most salad greens can be planted in containers

How to plant lettuce seeds

There are two ways to plant lettuce seeds :

  1. Direct sow seeds in the garden or containers.
  2. Transplant lettuce seedlings that were started indoors under grow lights or purchased from a garden centre.

Direct sowing lettuce seeds
When address seeding heading types of lettuce in rows, space the seeds two inches apart with rows twelve to eighteen inches apart, depending on the assortment. Don ’ thyroxine sow the seeds besides profoundly as they need ignite to germinate. Cover them with a thin layer of territory. Once the seedlings are growing well, thin to ten to twelve inches .
For a crop of baby boodle, I like to sow the seeds in bands. You can make narrow bands that are just three to four inches across or wider bands to fit your space. I often sow twelve to eighteen edge wide bands of pamper lettuces in my raise beds, trying to outer space the seeds about two inches apart. You can grow a one diverseness this way or buy a package of epicure blend lettuces .
Lettuce ready to be transplanted in a garden
Transplanting lettuce
When transplanting boodle into my garden beds or containers, I typically plant in a grid pattern, spacing each seedling about ten-spot inches apart. This is where you can have a bite of fun if you ’ rhenium growing motley varieties like Salanova Home & Garden Mix. You can stagger the colors to create a checkerboard design .
If transplanting in rows, quad seedlings ten to twelve inches apart and rows twelve to eighteen inches apart, depending on the mature size of the diverseness. Check your seed package for specific spacing instructions .

How to plant romaine lettuce

Romaine boodle is one of the most popular types of lettuce and is very comfortable to grow. You can grow it as a baby crop and harvest the young leaves for weeks or you can allow the plants to mature to full-sized heads. For the best-tasting cos boodle give the plants reproducible moisture, batch of sunlight and cool temperatures .
Because my garden is a slug haven, I find it helpful to start seeds for cos lettuce indoors and move the seedlings out to my raised beds a week or two before the final expect form freeze. For entire sized heads of cos lettuce, space them ten edge apart.

garden lettuce

Succession planting lettuce

Wondering how to plant lettuce so that you can have a identical long season of reap ? The secret is succession planting ! succession establish is simply planting seeds at different times. I like to plant small amounts of boodle seed at any one clock so that we have enough for our family, but not so much that I can ’ thymine keep up with the harvest .
The consecutive crops come from the extra boodle seeds I sow every two to three weeks from mid-spring to early summer. Seeding lettuce over the path of spring or fall results in a non-stop crop of high quality greens .

How far apart to plant lettuce

once your boodle seedlings are growing well, you can thin them to allow enough board that they mature into good-sized heads. You ’ ll find specific diverseness spacing listed on the source mailboat, but by and large a space of ten to twelve inches is best .
For heads of baby lettuce, you can space the plants a bite closer, at six to eight inches. This technique works good for cos boodle which then forms compact heads just six to eight inches grandiloquent .
Seedlings ready to plant in the garden

How to grow a lettuce plant

now that you know how to plant boodle, it ’ sulfur meter to learn a few key growing techniques. The key to a high quality crop of crank, mild-tasting lettuce is consistent moisture. If lettuce plants are heat or drought stressed, the leaves turn bitterness and the plants will bolt. Bolting is when the plants switch from leaf production to flower production and a bloom stalk emerges. Read more about bolting here .
I live in a northern climate where bounce frequently takes a few steps backwards and temperatures dip below freezing. Keep course covers handy to protect from frost or unexpected cold temperatures. They can be placed directly over the boodle plants or floated above on hoops. You can besides buy handy wool tunnels online or at garden centres .
If your spring weather turns from warm to hot quicker than expected, keep lengths of shade fabric handy so that you can create a shady position. It ’ randomness easy to make hoops from half inch PVC conduit, metallic element wire, or other materials. Lay a piece of 40 % shadecloth on top of the hoops, securing it with clips. Shadecloth reduces the heat and light around your lettuce plants and can delay bolt by a workweek or two .
If you ’ ve worked organic matter and a slow-release organic fertilizer into the territory before planting, there ’ s no need to further fertilize your aggressive lettuce plants .
Use shade cloth to protect spring salad greens

Lettuce pests

In my garden, the biggest threats to my lettuce plants are deer and slugs. To deal with deer, check out this excellent article by Jessica. She besides wrote this detailed article on slugs. I find diatomaceous earth effective on slugs. Reapply after rain. You can besides use chicken electrify or willow cloches to keep animals like deer or rabbits away from lettuce. Or, erect a mini hoop burrow over your bed and cover with bird net, chicken wire, or an worm barrier framework .
Aphids are another coarse lettuce plague. Aphids are bantam, gentle bodied insects that suck the juices from the leaves, causing curl or distortion. Because lettuce grows so promptly, a modest infestation international relations and security network ’ t normally a big problem. I just give the leaves a quick laundry before we make a salad. If there are a fortune of aphids on your lettuce plants, you can spray with an organic buttery body of water spray to kill the insects and their eggs. This may require a few applications .

How to harvest lettuce plants

once you ’ ve got a nice crop of lettuce coming along in your garden, how do you know when it ’ south time to harvest ? There are several ways to enjoy your lettuce :

  1. Harvest as a baby green by picking individual young leaves or harvesting the entire immature plant.
  2. Selectively harvest outer leaves from looseleaf or heading varieties as the plants grow.
  3. Harvest the entire head by slicing it off about an inch above the soil.

When and how to harvest lettuce

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