Growing Lettuce

Category Vegetables
Imagine being able to run out to your garden and get all you need for a fresh salad. Growing your own lettuce is an easy and a great way to get fresh greens into your diet. This is a page on growing lettuce.
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March 10, 2010

Plant your different lettuce in hanging baskets. It's easy to care for, easy to harvest, and easy to move in or out of sun. You can raise all your salad greens hanging on the patio.

By john from Mansfield, AR

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Plant 4 or 5 different varieties of lettuce in your lettuce bed then you can have a variety of greens to eat. When cutting you lettuce off, just break off the leaves and leave the roots growing. It will produce more lettuce for you to eat. If the lettuce has dead leaves on it, just snip them off and it will grow again. Keep your lettuce watered if the weather is dry.

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By mamacrafter

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Achieving a Continuous Crop

Spring and Fall: Choose quick-maturing varieties that will produce a crop within weeks of sowing. In the fall, use row covers to extend the season and protect crops from frost.

Summer: Obviously the widest range of salad greens can be grown in summer, providing you protect them from summer heat and make sure they stay evenly watered. Some greens are mild, others are strong and bitter, so grow a mixture for a blend of flavors.

Winter: Greens sown in late summer should be ready to harvest in early winter. With a little protection, gardeners in milder climates can continue to sow and grow salads all winter long. Gardeners living in harsh climates can continue to grow salad greens indoors in shallow flats near a south-facing window.

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Successional Sowing: A new batch of seed sown every 2-3 weeks will ensure a continuous crop of greens for harvesting. Plant greens in full sun early and late in the season when the weather is cool. Plant them in light to partial shade during the heat of the summer.

Interplanting and Catch Cropping: Greens grow quickly. Plant them in between rows or around slow-growing crops like such as cabbages, potatoes, and cucumbers. Your salad greens will mature and be ready for harvesting well before the larger crops fill in the space.

Prevent Bolting

  • Look for cultivars that are "slow bolting" and "heat tolerant". Certain greens, including Swiss chard, malbar, New Zealand spinach, and amaranth, are known to show more heat tolerance.
  • Plant crops in cool seasons. Two factors that cause greens like spinach to bolt quickly in the spring are longer days and temperatures above 70 degrees F. Plant crops as early in the spring and as late in the fall as possible to beat the heat.
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  • Choose a cool location. Gardens located on the north and east sides of the home tend to be cooler. If that's not an option for you, plant them beneath a trellis or under a sheet of lattice propped up on cinder blocks to cut down on the sun's rays and give the greens additional shade.
  • Water regularly and add mulch. Watering daily, especially in the summer, will help prevent leaves from wilting and tasting bitter. Mulching will help keep the soil moist and the roots cool.

Harvesting Crops

  • Seedling greens (including mesclun): Harvest them as soon as they reach 4-6 inches high, or when they are large enough to be picked--usually within a few weeks. Cut the leaves using a sharp knife or scissors. If you leave at least a 1/2 inch stem, and you should be able to harvest 1-2 more crops during the season.
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  • Lettuce Heads (crisphead, romaine): Harvest as soon as the heads are fully formed. Use a sharp knife and cut the heads off just above the soil surface. Heads may feel as firm as store-bought lettuce.
Harvest early in the day. The best time to harvest greens is right before you eat them or early in the morning when the leaves contain the highest amount of moisture.
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Questions

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I planted some leaf lettuce in my garden and it is doing pretty good. My question is how do I harvest the lettuce and what can I use to take away some of the bitter taste? I've tried it straight from the garden and it tastes kind of bitter.

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I would like to try to make a salad from it, but don't quite know how to harvest the leaves and how to take the bitter taste out of it. Does anyone know how to do this?

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July 10, 20190 found this helpful
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If it is bitter, you waited too long to harvest it. You could try sautéing it on a bit of olive oil and adding salt and pepper.

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July 10, 20190 found this helpful
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I got some loose leaf lettuce from my neighbor and also found it to be a little bitter but not too bad. I tossed it with some Olive Garden Signature Italian dressing and topped it with some drained mandarin oranges. I rather enjoyed it. I wonder if hot weather has anything to do with the taste. I would think that lettuce is a cooler weather vegetable but I have never grown lettuce.

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July 11, 20190 found this helpful
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This is an interesting question as I have had some very bitter loose leaf lettuce also.
I read comments from this site and here are a couple of comments:

"Note: Although the biggest cause for bitter lettuce is temperature, along with the other possible reasons, additional factors such as one's region, current growing conditions and even variety can all play a role in the bitterness of lettuce plants.

Some people have found it helpful to soak their bitter lettuce prior to using. If you would like to give this a try, separate the lettuce leaves, put them in a bowl of cold water and add a small amount of baking soda. Let the leaves soak about five to 10 minutes, rinse thoroughly in cold water and then soak them again for a few more minutes. Drain and use. You can also try refrigerating the bitter lettuce for 24-48 hours before serving."

www.gardeningknowhow.com/.../bitter-lettuce.htm

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October 9, 2011

I have been growing lettuce for 3 months now and they have been doing really well. All the lettuce plants, because they were planted at the same time, are starting to flower. Can I plant these again and how do I do it? I am not sure of the variety of lettuce, I think it is a mignonette.

By Therese H

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October 11, 20110 found this helpful
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Sure you can. Make sure the plant is completely dry before picking the seeds. We just leave ours in the garden over the winter, and in the spring, many little seedlings appear weeks before we till and plant. We have three varieties, and they all do it. I'm in Zone 4-5, if this helps. We sometimes transplant them into rows and have lettuce for weeks.

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November 9, 2013

Last summer I grew lettuces that produce very bitter tasting leaves. We are unable to eat them! I am guessing it is a result of soil preparation. I have replaced the soil and used two different beds; but alas again this summer I have the same problem.

By Marcia from Canberra, Australia

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December 9, 20170 found this helpful

Lettuce is a cool weather vegetable. If it gets too hot it will be bitter

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Photos

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Winter sowing is a method of planting seeds in milk jugs and letting them sit out all winter. My lettuce did so well it was coming out of the jug and I planted it today. There is no need to harden off the plants since they have been outside all winter. Follow this link to a tip on Thriftyfun: Start Seeds Outdoors With Winter Sowing

Winter Sown Lettuce - leaf lettuce in a raised bed

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