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  • Writer's pictureStronger Roots

Growing Lettuce

Updated: May 10, 2022



🔷BENEFITS

Source of vitamin K, which helps strengthen bones

— Source of vitamin A, which plays a role in eye health

— Certain proteins in lettuce, like lipoxygenase, help control inflammation

Vitamin C which reduces arterial stiffness and helps in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. It may strengthen arteries and even prevent heart attacks

💎— The RED, PURPLE, BLACK and BLUE hues found in compound in vegetables contain ANTHOCYANINS; a pigment that helps absorb excessive visible and UV light ; also act as antioxidants in the plant and fight free radicals

🔷WHEN TO PLANT:

— Germination - Temps (As Low 40F)

ideal 60-65F /range 55-75F

❗️if it’s too hot they won’t germinate

— Want to START in very early spring, or once the temps cool down in late summer or early fall:

Spring:

•Direct sow 2 weeks before last frost

•start seeds inside 4-6 weeks prior to last frost

Fall:

•direct sow seeds 8 weeks before last frost

🔷HOW TO PLANT

— friable soil (easily crumbled)/ “well drained”

— add compost to make sure it has plenty of nitrogen to grow optimally

— plant seeds planted in a depth as shallow as 1/8” deep NO MORE than 1/4” (NEED Sunlight to germinate)

❗️another method is leaving on surface of soil and letting them work in during watering

— Spacing:

•Loose leaf - 4”

•Loose head - 8”

•Head - 16”

— Begin thinning when sprouts produce 3-4true leaves

— 4-6 true leaves before transplanting garden/bigger pot

❗️Harden off before transplanting!!

🔷HOW TO GROW

— Germinates in 4-10 days

— Consistently moist soil ; NOT soggy

— Succession planting ( planting new rows/plants ideally every two weeks for continuous supply of a fresh harvest )

— Sunny spot receiving 6+ hours of sun

— Grows best between 45-75F; COOL weather crop

❗️BOLTING : temps over 75F daytime and over 60F nighttime

— Organic liquid fertilizer Every 2 weeks with decent nitrogen levels

❗️Too much nitrogen can cause lettuce to taste bitter

❗️Granular fertilizer aren’t ideal because of the time it will take to break down and be available for the plant may be longer than the grow season for the lettuce

🔷DIFFERENT VARIETIES : Crisphead, Butterhead, Romaine, and Loose-Leaf…


🌱Crisphead: (crisp and crunchy texture), cabbage like heads, mild flavor (some varieties are sweet), pale green leaves :

•ICEBERG / 55-90days

•IGLOO / 70days

•HANSON / 75-85days (mild-sweet)

•GREAT LAKES / 80-90days

•WEBBS / 72days (sweet)


🌱Butterhead: soft buttery texture, (creamy, buttery taste), soft and tender leaves, Loose Head ,sweet and succulent, C&C (cut and come again):

•BOSTON / 55-70 days

•BIBB / 55-60 days mild

•BRONZE MIGNONETTE / 65-70 days

•BUTTERCRUNCH / 65days

•DYNAMITE / 65-75days

•FOUR SEASONS / 55days

•TOM THUMB / 50-60days ( mild-slight nutty flavor )



🌱Romaine: long leave, crisp and crunchy, mild or slightly bitter taste, packed with potassium ,most heat tolerant varieties:

•CIMARRON(red romaine) / 60days mild-sweet

•EZ SERVE / 65days mild flavor

•FORELLENSCHULUSS(Freckles/Trout Back) : / 50-70days buttery-mild-sweet

•LITTLE GEM(small) / 50days

•VIVIAN(largest) / 70days mild-Ssweet




🌱Loose Leaf: (mild,sweet flavor), large, flat, frill edged leaves , sometimes densely wrinkled leaves Tend to be heat resistant and bolt resistant! last longer in summer ; C&C

•BLACK SEEDED SIMPSON /40-50days (sweet-mild)

•DEER TONGUE / 46days

•GRAND RAPIDS / 50days (sweet-mild)

•GREEN ICE / 45days

•LOLLO ROSSO / 55-60days nutty-bitter

•RED SAILS / 45days (sweet-mild)

•RUBY (retains color even in heat) / 40-50days



🌱Oak Leaf: LOOSE LEAF, small deeply lobed leaves, (delicate, tender texture) Tends to be heat resistant and bolt resistant ; C&C

•BRONZE GUARD / 70days Sbitter-juicy

•OAKLEAF / 40days tender-sweet-mild

💎Head lettuce Vs Leaf lettuce

•HL:More prone to bolting

•HL: suited for spring and fall harvest

🔶CUT AND COME AGAIN

• ideally loose leaf and Butterhead and romaine varieties

•varieties can be as close as 4” apart (Looseleaf) OR 8” apart (Butterhead)

•cutting down to an an inch above the crown/base of the plant

•average of 3-5 cuttings or longer depending on your weather and garden conditions

🔶EXTENDING Season(Preventing bolting/extending harvest)

Low Tunnels:

— Row Covers: fleece cloth that can be used as a floating cover OR with greenhouse hoops (steaks that you put in the ground to support the cloth) extend

SPRING GROW- use to jump start season by helping seeds germinate quicker with the trapped warmth and also ward off pest

SUMMER GROW- use to keep excessive heat off the plants to keep them from bolting

🔶MATURITY

— Looseleaf & Butterhead = 45-55days

— Heading = tad longer than Looseleaf

— Romaine =75-85 days

— Crisphead = 70-100days

🔷HARVEST

— When full size but just before maturity

Looseleaf, loose head and romaine varieties :

•Before maturity you can harvest outer leaves

•Dig up entire plant right before maturity

•Cut and come again

•Harvest in the am before sun (most crisp)

🔷STORAGE

— Good in refrigerator depending on the variety (head varieties tend to last longer) anywhere from 3-10 days

❗️If wilted : soak in ice cold water

❗️Loose leaf and loose head varieties you want to wait til serving to apply dressings and oils to avoid wilting

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