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Lettuce is an edible, leafy herbaceous biennial that is grown as an annual. This leafy annual, which is grown for its succulent crisp leaves, will produce globular heads which are pale green. The lettuce will mature very quickly and can be harvested by the leaf or by the head. 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 a few weeks before harvesting. The loose-leaf varieties are harvested by the outer leaves so that the plant can grow new leaves to be harvested later. The crisphead varieties are very popular for their loosely formed heads of crisp, curling leaves. Butterhead types produce tender leaves that are very tasty. Grow in moist, fertile soil that will not dry out and give full sun or dappled shade.
Common problems with Lettuce
Lettuce Companion Plants
How to harvest Lettuce
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.
How to propagate Lettuce
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 of Lettuce
Fast, light feeders that are useful for growing in between other crops and for crop rotation.
Other uses of Lettuce
Culinary, can be grown in containers
Lettuces (especially red ones) add vitamins A and K to help with eyesight and dense bone structures.
Leaves and stems are edible.
Edibles to Sow Outdoors in June
Now the soil has warmed up, sow direct into prepared beds.Explore all
Edibles to Sow Outdoors in May
If the soil is warm enough, sow direct into prepared beds.