Lettuce: Planting, Growing and Harvesting Lettuce

Lettuce is a spring plant that is tolerant to temperatures 46 F to 64 F. The plant is grown commercially or in private gardens. Perfect for lettuce soup, salads and many culinary applications it is fast growing requires regular watering, pest control measures, adequate sun and moist soil.

Varieties

Recommended varieties are Red leaf, Red pygmy and loose heads. Others include Crisphead like the Mission or King crown. We have the Paris white cos and Wallop.

How to Plant 

The type of lettuce determines the depth and amount of space between each seed. The firm-headed lettuce require 12 to 15 inches apart, loose headed type 16 inches and leaf lettuce 5 inches.

Plant the seed ½ inch deep or start in a nursery for 2 weeks prior planting. There are two ways to sow the plant broadcast or single row. Make sure the rows are 14 inches across and cover seed with ¼ inch soil.

Immediately water the plant and introduce barrier and shade plants. Common barrier plants are garlic or chives to protect the lettuce and control aphids. The plant is fast growing and farmers tend to have many harvests in a year.

Planting

  • Plant Firm-headed lettuce 15 inches apart
  • Plant the seed ½ inch deep
  • start in a nursery for 2 weeks prior planting
  • sow the plant broadcast or single row
  • Make rows are 14 inches across
  • Cover seed with ¼ inch soil.
  • Water regularly
  • Introduce barrier and shade plants

Plant Care

To achieve optimum land use, sow additional seeds every 14 days. This will ensure longer harvest season and different stages of growth. The best soil type for the plant is nitrogen rich, well drained humid soil.

Apply compost and fertilize 21 days before transplanting from nursery. Low release fertilizer or organic fertilizer is ideal for lettuce. Weed and remove competing grass and maintain the 3 foot row.

Regulate soil moisture and temperature by introducing organic mulch. Water regularly to reduce wilting and hand weed to prevent root damage. Make sure you provide natural shade.

Care

  • Sow additional seeds every 14 days
  • Best soil type is nitrogen rich
  • Well drained humid soil.
  • Apply compost 21 days before transplanting
  • Use low release fertilizer or organic fertilize
  • Weed and remove competing grass
  • Maintain the 3 foot row.
  • Regulate soil moisture and temperature with organic mulch
  • Water regularly to reduce wilting
  • Provide natural shade

Pests and Diseases

Common pest and diseases that attack lettuce are aphids and white mold. Others are rabbits, woodchucks, cutworms and earwigs.

  • Aphids
  • White mold
  • Rabbits
  • Woodchucks
  • Cutworms
  • Earwigs

Harvesting and Storage

Some farmers remove outer leaves however Lettuce is harvested on maturity and full size. The farmer has the option of digging up the entire plant, removing leaves or cutting an inch above the soil.

Mature lettuce have low shelf life and become woody rather fast. Harvest them early in the morning and refrigerate for longer preservation.

 

tony

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