If you've only eaten supermarket lettuce, you're in for a real treat by
growing your own. There are hundred of lettuce varieties, each with its own
distinct flavor, texture and color. Plus, the brightly colored varieties
contain more nutrients than pale iceberg. There are two types of lettuce:
Head lettuce varieties produce heads of tightly wrapped crisp leaves.
Iceberg is a head lettuce. Butterhead and bibb lettuces form loose heads.
Romaine forms a tall, narrow head.
Leaf lettuce varieties don't produce heads at all; rather, the leaves grow
up and out. As you harvest the outer leaves, the inner ones continue to
mature. Leaf lettuce is one of the easiest and fastest maturing crops for
your home garden.
1.Prepare. Sow lettuce in spring as
soon as the soil can be worked. Loosen soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches
using a shovel or tiller. Mix in some compost or slow-release fertilizer to
provide plants with nutrients. Then rake the soil smooth, removing any large
clumps and rocks.
2. Plant. Use a hoe to create a
shallow furrow, then sow lettuce seeds about a quarter-inch deep and an inch
apart. Cover seed with soil and press gently.
3. Grow. When seedlings are 2 or 3
inches tall, thin them by removing extra plants, using the small leaves in
salads. Thin to one plant every 4 inches for leaf lettuce varieties, every
12 inches for head lettuces. Keep seedbed moist until lettuce germinates.
Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw, to conserve moisture and keep
soil cool. Pull weeds that sprout nearby.
4. Enjoy. Harvest lettuce in the
morning, when leaves are cool and crisp. Harvest leaf lettuce regularly,
while leaves are small and tender. Wait to harvest head lettuce until the
heads have formed.
Lettuce grows best in the cool temperature of spring and fall. and continue
sowing small beds every two weeks for a continuous harvest through early
summer. Start another crop in late summer for a fall harvest.
Garden Seed Association (HGSA) |
P.O. Box 93, Maxwell, CA 95955 |
Phone (530) 438-2126 |
AT A GLANCE
sun. Light afternoon shade will extend the harvest.
Planting time: 2 to 3 weeks before
last spring frost.
Planting depth: 1/4 inch deep
Spacing in row: 1 inches apart;
thin to 4 to 12 inches apart, depending on type.