Lettuce

Lactuca sativa

1 of 5
1 of 5
Lettuce is an edible, leafy herbaceous biennial that is grown as an annual. The leaves - notched, scalloped, frilly or ruffled - are generally eaten raw in salads and are a rich source of vitamins K and A. Depending on the variety, lettuce plants can vary in size, shape and colour but generally, the leaves form a dense head or a loose rosette of green or red, or a mixture of the two. If allowed to bolt or go to seed, the flowers will be yellow, followed by hairy brown seed heads. Lettuce is a 'cool-season' crop that grows well in the spring, and autumn, as well as the summer and some lettuce seedlings will tolerate a light frost. It's a good idea to make regular sowings for a constant supply. They need a lot of water for the few weeks before harvesting.

Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Summer, Autumn

Fruiting time

Autumn

Harvesting

Lettuce matures in 45-100 days depending on the variety. Harvest lettuce in the morning, after the plants have had all night to plump up with water. Pull young plants thinning them creating space for the remaining plants and providing the space needed for bigger plants. Gather individual leaves as needed or use scissors to quickly cut fresh leaves.

Propagation

Seed

Direct sow or transplant in Spring. Direct sow shallowly, 2.5 cm apart in rows 30-45 cm apart. Germinates in 7-14 days.

Special features

Crop rotation

Fast, light feeders that are useful for growing in between other crops and for crop rotation.

Special features

Origin

Mediterranean and Egypt. Evidence of its cultivation appears as early as 2680 BC

Natural climate

Mediterranean

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Loam, Sand, Chalk, Clay

Soil PH preference

Neutral, Acid, Alkaline

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Medicinal

Lettuces (especially red ones) add vitamins A and K to help with eyesight and dense bone structures.

Edible

Leaves and stems are edible.

Personality

Family

Asteraceae

Flower colour

Yellow

Scent

None