While lettuce is not an item in our Charley’s Vegetables line, it has an honorary position as an easy-to-grow early season vegetable.
Lettuce is a hardy annual that can tolerate light frosts and can be easily grown from seed or transplants. Lettuce need sunny locations early but can tolerate some shade and as the days get warmer, more shade is better. Sunlight combined with warm summer temperatures usually make the lettuce bitter. Lettuce grow best when the day temperatures are between 60-70 degrees F and when planted in well-drained soil that is kept evening moist with light watering.
Leaf lettuce is the most popular type of lettuce grown by gardeners, but you can also grow iceberg, butterhead, and romaine lettuce.
Sow leaf lettuce in rows with 10-20 seeds per foot and space rows about 12” apart. Thin out seedlings after sprouting to a spacing of 6” apart. If transplanting, plant individual plants 6” apart. For head lettuce plant 12-18” apart. Lettuce can be planted in between other crops that shade the lettuce during the heat of the day.
Lettuce has shallow roots so cultivate or hoe shallow to keep the weeds down. Overwatering can cause disease problems, and any overhead watering should be done in the morning to allow the foliage time to dry. Mulching is also beneficial since it keeps the leaves off the ground and the soil cool.
Generally, lettuce should be planted and enjoyed in the spring then abandoned when the it gets hot and the taste gets bitter.
Lettuce mature between 40-80 days depending on the variety.
Harvest leaf lettuce when the plants reach 5-6” tall. Harvest the older outer leaves first. Harvest bibb lettuce when the leaves begin to cup inward. Harvest romaine lettuce when when the leaves have overlapped and formed a tight head that is about 4” wide and 6” tall. Crisphead lettuce is ready to harvest when a head is formed that looks like head lettuce in the grocery store.
Click here for more information on growing lettuce from the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Office.
Everything finally got dry enough that I could plant my potatoes. I think I sat on the potatoes for 2 weeks before I was able to get to the garden when it was still dry. It seemed during those 2 weeks that every time it was dry enough to plant, I had other commitments, and then it would rain. So it all worked out last week and the potatoes are now in the ground. I planted
baby spinach and lettuces, too. This weekend was spent trying to find places to plant my flower seeds – zinnias, mostly, and some marigolds, cosmos, a little cilantro, cockscomb and scarlet poppies. I’m finding that I am a compulsive seed buyer, and saver, and between the two, I have seeds enough for five acres while living on a 1/4 acre! I keep hinting to my very patient husband that maybe we could plant corn and okra and the rest of my flowers in the front yard. He hasn’t directly said no, so maybe…
(*Note – I was supposed to post this two days ago. My bad. -Jason)
My garden has finally taken off. The plants are loving the fertilizer! Of course, so are the weeds. I can barely keep them out. I plan on mulching with more straw but it is sold out at all the feed stores here in town. I have enough lettuce right now that I was able to sale some at our Farmers Market this past Saturday and I think I am going to sale some this Saturday, too. Here are a few pictures of my garden.
Well. The garden is looking real good. It has been mostly cloudy since I planted everything, but someone forgot to tell the Bermuda grass. It is growing faster than everything else and I have to pull it everyday or it will takeover the entire garden. I have managed to get some cardboard and newspaper down with hay mulch on top, hopefully that will be a barrier to weeds and grass. I have little confidence in that against Bermuda grass. That stuff would grow through glass! I took pictures of everything I have planted including my flower filled planters, perennial and herb gardens.
Tonight we ate the first harvest of lettuce and herbs. It made a yummy salad and my girls sure enjoyed it, and so did Ben and I. I even took pictures of the salad. (It was pretty!)
If any of you have any tips on getting rid of Bermuda grass organically I would sure like to know. Yall take care and love your garden!
March 26, 2009
Hello. Here are pictures of the peas and spinach coming up. They are really looking good. My carrots have finally started poking their little heads up, and the lettuce and mustard are up as well. I am waiting, waiting, to plant anything else since the weathermen are calling for snow this weekend. I am grateful to God for sending much needed rain this week and no bad weather. Hopefully we will continue to get regular spring rain showers with out any tornadoes here in Tornado Alley. Happy gardening and enjoy the spring rain where ever you are!
March 9, 2009
Hello to all! What a beautiful weekend though it was a bit chilly! I managed to get Five-color Silverbeet seeds (Swiss chard) in the ground yesterday and today I planted lettuce and carrots. In the pictures you will notice about 18-24 inches between the carrot rows, that is where I am planting the tomatoes. Tomatoes and carrots are a beneficial companion planting (I have read about anyway). I will let you know if I think it is beneficial. To the right of the carrots there is a path filled with straw then a 18 inch wide row of lettuce. I just broadcast the seed and patted it down then watered it. I saved lettuce seed for successive plantings about every 10 days and I have enough Swiss chard for one more planting in 10 days. It is supposed to storm today. Hopefully it will not wash my seeds away. I should have checked the weather first. Lesson learned! The peas are just beginning to sprout but are not quite big enough for a picture yet. Now it is water and wait time.
Swiss Chard Bed
Carrot and Lettuce Beds