Living Frugal
All About Growing Lettuce

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Growing Lettuce is so easy in your home vegetable garden. It tastes great and grows so well, it's one of the delicious vegetables everyone should try their green thumb at. It flourishes whether in the vegetable garden, garden containers or in your flower garden. As long as you regularly water the lettuce plants, it will thrive pretty much anywhere you plant it.

If you're planting for you and your family, don't make the mistake of planting a huge patch at the beginning of the season. You'll be overwhelmed by all the lettuce in your vegetable garden.

Depending upon where you live, lettuce grows well in the spring and fall when temperatures are below 75 degrees. Also, be sure to plant after the last frost of the season. While the seedlings can usually survive, your lettuce plant cannot if the root freezes.

If you live in the South like I do and you plan on growing lettuce in the summer months, be sure it has a good covering and shield from the hot summer sun. This is part of the reason it's best to inter plant your lettuce with other vegetables like tomatoes or corn to take advantage of their shading.

It takes lettuce typically 6-8 weeks to grow lettuce. Lettuce forms leaves in spring and when the summer heat kicks in, you'll notice it starting to grow a flowering stalk. After the flower stalk starts to form, the lettuce turns bitter. Be sure to harvest before the flowering stem starts to form.

If you're planning on growing lettuce in a container garden, you can start your new salad planters every few weeks to have a continual supply of fresh lettuce all season long.

What Kind of Lettuce should I plant?

Here are a few different varieties you can try:

  • Loose-leaf - This variety has superb heat tolerance and will grow leaves in dense rosettes but they will not form a crisp inner head.
  • Romaine - This variety has long leaves with stiff ribs. Romaine lettuce will typically tolerate hot weather better than other varieties of lettuce.
  • Crisp head - This variety includes the familiar iceberg plants.

Planting Lettuce Seeds

Sow your lettuce about 3 weeks before the last frost. Your seeds will typically start sprouting in 3-6 days when the soil temperature is between 55 and 75 degrees.

In your vegetable garden, prepare the garden soil for lettuce by loosening it at least 10 inches deep. Mix in some compost or well rotted manure. Sow your lettuce seeds approximately a quarter of an inch deep and one inch apart in rows.

If you choose to start your seedlings indoors, sow the seeds in small containers or peat pots. Once the new seedlings are about three weeks old, harden them for 3-4 days before transplanting them in the vegetable garden.

Harvesting your Lettuce
Don't pick your lettuce during the heat of the day, harvest it in the early morning. Gather the leaves or use scissors to harvest baby lettuce. Rinse it with cold water and spin off any moisture. Lettuce can be stored in plastic bowls or bags in the refrigerator.

May God Bless You in Your Home Vegetable Garden!! USA, LLC
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