Growing Lettuce: What To Do When It Bolts

by on January 28, 2012


Lettuce is one of my favorite things to grow. It grows quickly and I don’t ever get tired of eating fresh lettuce everyday. A salad mixed with different types of lettuce always offers a tasty surprise in every bite.  Wonderful heirloom lettuces like Butterhead Speckles, Butterhead Marvels, Lolla Rossa (great name too) and Oak Leaf Blend never get boring.  Lettuce isn’t just for salad anymore. These lettuces have so much flavor that they can go anywhere  – on sandwiches, in a wrap, as a breakfast side to eggs (yes, try it) or used as the wrap itself.

The lettuces pictured here have been growing in my urban farm for the past few months. Since I only cut off the leaves that I need, they keep on growing to my delight.  But now, they’re beginning to head towards the bolting stage which is the end of the life cycle.  The amount of light the plant receives over time determines when it will bolt and that is why lettuces do very well and last longer in cooler temperatures with shorter days. When lettuce bolts, the flavor does begin to change as it begins to go to seed.  When you feel the lettuce is too bitter for your taste, pull it up.

Because lettuce grows so quickly, I welcome the bolting stage and get excited to plant new lettuces and start all over again with new varieties and of course some of my old favorites.

Questions or comments? Please write below.

Carol Carimi Acutt

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