How to Grow Head Lettuce

by on January 16, 2012

Lettuce is one of the most basic vegetable plants in the garden. As the base of many salads it is a staple that no home should be forced to do without, especially when it is so easy to grow your own lettuce at home, even in the urban garden. Growing lettuce is easy no matter how much of a beginner you are, and the hardest part about growing it is choosing the varieties you want to plant. In the south many people don’t even realize there is a lettuce other than Iceberg!
Temp Range: 50 – 60 degrees F
Seed to Plate: 55 days
Light Needs: min. 4-6 hours of full sun, partial shade per day
How Much to Grow Per Person: 6 heads per person for  3-4x per week consumption
Average Space Needs: 4-6 heads / 1 Square Foot
Water Needs: moist, well drained soil
Soil pH: slightly acid, 6.0 –6.5

Growing Head Lettuce

We offer several varieties of organic head lettuce in our shop including the ever-popular romaine and buttercrunch varieties. It is a good idea to start lettuce from seed about 6-8 weeks before the last frost, or if you have a longer growing season or more welcoming climate, start them by direct sowing outdoors when the temperatures are consistently in the 40 degrees F range.

If started indoors, choose a good quality seed starting medium or a readymade product like the Jiffy Peat Pellets and keep them moist but not dripping in a sunny area until time to transplant outdoors.

If the taste and health benefit wasn’t enough, growing head lettuce at home costs a fraction of what you’d pay for comparable organic lettuce at the supermarket. For the cost of one head you can have enough seed to grow lettuce for your whole neighborhood!

Harvesting Head Lettuce

It is best to harvest lettuce early in the day before the sun is too high in the sky as they will be less susceptible to wilt. The amount of time it will take for your seeds to mature will vary, but many varieties are ready in as few as 55 days.

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