In a home vegetable garden it is much more encouraging to grow loose leaf lettuce over the commercially produced crisphead lettuce. When you grow loose leaf lettuce you can pick off just the right amount of leaves for your salad and leave the rest to carry on growing.
Loose leaf lettuces are also very decorative as they come in a variety of different colors and leaf patterns. Lettuce is also a perfect container veggie.
How to grow lettuce – planting
Sow seeds in seed trays and then plant out into freshly dug over, composted soil. If you can find organic lettuce seedlings, purchase punnets of lettuce seedlings to plant. Lettuce can tolerate some shade during the day, in fact they prefer some sort of shade over the hottest hours. Lettuce can bolt in very hot humid conditions so if your area has these conditions in spells during certain seasons, then hold off lettuce for this period.
Long term care & harvesting
Slugs and snails love lettuce leaves and you need to be diligent about protecting your lettuce seedlings. Keep well watered as lettuce can wilt easily.
If you decide to grow crisphead lettuce, harvest the whole head when it is firm. If loose leaf is your choice, then pick leaves from the outside as you need.
When to plant: Almost all year unless in a snow area. Check your cultivars for the correct season.
How many plants: 6 – 8 plants.
How long to harvest: 5 – 10 weeks depending on cultivar and season.
Successive planting: Every 2 – 4 weeks depending on cultivar.
EASY LETTUCE RECIPE
Take a selection of loose leaf lettuce leaves.Top with fresh carrots, cucumber, snap peas, nasturtiam and borage flowers for a pretty colorful salad.
Drizzle with olive oil and Basalmic vinegar.
Serve with fresh bread for a light lunch.