Lettuce greens are so easy to grow, so nutritious, and so delicious picked fresh from the garden, that everyone should grow them. Grow lettuce in the vegetable garden, tuck it into flowerbeds, or cultivate it in containers. With regular watering, shade from hot sun, and succession planting, you can enjoy home-grown lettuce almost year-round in much of the country.
From baby leaf lettuce to big, crisp heads, lettuce is easy to grow in spring and fall, when the soil is cool. Leaf colour and texture vary with variety. All types of lettuce grow best when the soil is kept constantly moist, and outside temperatures range between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Common name(s): Ice plant.
Flower colours: -
Bloom time: -
Max reacahble height: Height: 0.5 to 2 feet
Spread: 0.5 to 2 feet
Difficulty to grow:: Easy
Planting and care
Before you plant your lettuce seeds, make sure the soil is prepared. It should be loose and drain well so itâ€™s moist without staying soggy.
To keep the soil fertile, feed it with organic matter about one week before you seed or transplant. Since the seed is so small, a well-tilled seedbed is essential. Large clods will reduce germination.
Direct sowing is recommended as soon as the ground can be worked. Plant seeds Â½ inch deep. Snow wonâ€™t hurt them, but a desiccating cold wind will.
If you want an earlier crop, however, you may start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost date for an earlier crop. Harden off seedlings for about one week, and transplant outside between 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after last spring frost.
Seed may be sown in single rows or broadcast for wide row planting. When broadcasting, youâ€™ll need to â€œthinâ€ for the proper spacing.
Sunlight: Full sun, part shade.
Soil: Requires well-drained soil, Tolerant of a wide range of soils, but prefers well-drained, cool, loose soil with plentiful moisture and pH 6.2 to 6.8. Sensitive to low pH. Lime to at least 6.0.
Water: Requires regular but well drained water.
Temperature: 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fertilizer: Leaf lettuce needs nitrogen to grow tender, new leaves quickly, so fertilize throughout the growing season with Bonnie Herb, Vegetable & Flower Plant Food.
Caring for Lettuce Butter Head Green
You should be able to sow additional seeds every two weeks for a continuous harvest throughout the growing season.
Fertilize 3 weeks after transplanting. Lettuce prefers soil that is high in humus, with plenty of compost and a steady supply of nitrogen to keep if growing fast. Use organic alfalfa meal or a slow-release fertilizer.
To plant a fall crop, create cool soil in August by moistening the ground and covering it with a bale of straw. A week later, the soil under the bale will be about 10 degrees F (6 degrees C) cooler than the rest of the garden. Sow a three foot row of lettuce seeds every couple of weeksâ€”just rotate the straw bale around the garden.
Make sure soil remains moist but is well-drained.
An organic mulch will help conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and keep soil temperatures cool throughout the warmer months.
Lettuce will tell you when it needs water. Just look at it. If the leaves are wilting, sprinkle them anytimeâ€”even in the heat of the dayâ€”to cool them off and slow down the transpiration rate.
Weed by hand if necessary, but be careful of plant roots: They are shallow.
Planning your garden so that lettuce will be in the shade of taller plants, such as tomatoes or sweet corn, in the heat of the summer, may reduce bolting.
Lettuce should be harvested when full size, but just before maturity. You want it young and tender.
Before maturity, you can harvest leaf lettuce by simply removing outer leaves so that the center leaves can continue to grow. Butterhead or romaine types can be harvested by removing the outer leaves, digging up the whole plant or cutting the plant about an inch above the soil surface. A second harvest is often possible this way. Crisphead lettuce is picked when the center is firm.
Mature lettuce gets bitter and woody and it will go bad quickly, so check your garden everyday.
As time passes, you will want to cut the whole plant from the ground.
Itâ€™s best to harvest in the morning before leaves have been exposed to sun.
Keep lettuce in the refrigerator for up to 10 days in a loose plastic bag.
Typical uses of Lettuce Butter Head Green
A very good diuretic.
Lettuce to remove flatulence.
Most lettuce is used in salads, either alone or with other greens, vegetables, meats and cheeses.
Romaine lettuce is often used for Caesar salads, with a dressing that includes anchovies and eggs.
Lettuce leaves can also be found in soups, sandwiches and wraps, while the stems are eaten both raw and cooked.
The minerals and vitamins found in lettuce include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc along with vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B-6, C, A, E, and vitamin K.