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How to Grow Lettuce

Posted Feb 13 2009 4:49pm

Lettuce is a cool-season crop which must mature before the weather gets warm. Sow lettuce seed indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the average last frost date in spring; transplant seedlings to the garden when they are about 4 inches tall. Direct sow lettuce in the garden 4 to 6 weeks before the average last frost date. Lettuce will be ready for harvest 65 to 80 days after sowing depending on variety.

 

More about lettuce varieties: click here.

 

Description. Lettuce is a fast-growing, hardy annual with either loose or compactly growing leaves that range in color from light green to reddish brown.

• Leaf or Looseleaf lettuce form leaves in a loose circular pattern; leaves are yellow, green, red, or purplish. Looseleaf lettuce comes to harvest in 40 to 50 days.

• Butterhead or Bibb lettuce form loose round heads with delicate green to cream-colored leaves at the center. Bibb lettuce comes to maturity in 65 to 80 days.

• Romaine or Cos lettuce form leafy green upright cylindrical or oval heads. Romaine lettuce comes to maturity in 80 to 85 days.

• Crisphead or Iceberg lettuce form firm, compact heads of pale green leaves. Crisphead lettuce comes to harvest in 80 to 90 days.

• Celtuce or Stem lettuce form loose leafy tops on stalks that resemble celery. Leaves are eaten as greens and stalks are eaten like celery. Celtuce comes to harvest in 65 to 90 days.

 

Yield. Plant 6 to 10 heads per person in the household.

 

Site. Grow lettuce in full sun or partial shade. Lettuce prefers well-worked, well-drained soil that is moisture retentive. Add aged compost to planting beds in advance of planting. Lettuce prefers a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.8.

 

Planting time. Lettuce is a cool-season crop which must come to harvest before the weather gets warm. Sow lettuce seed indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the average last frost date in spring; transplant seedlings to the garden when they are about 4 inches tall. Direct sow lettuce in the garden 4 to 6 weeks before the average last frost date. Lettuce will be ready for harvest 65 to 80 days after sowing depending on variety. In regions where the weather warms quickly, start lettuce indoors to get a jump on the season. Sow lettuce in succession. In a mild-winter climates grow lettuce for crops in spring, fall, and winter.

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