By Kathee Mierzejewski
If you are new to growing vegetables in a garden, you might be asking yourself, “How do I grow lettuce?” Since lettuce is a very popular vegetable to grow in a home garden, the proper way how to grow lettuce is important to know.
When Do I Need to Plant Lettuce?
Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is definitely a cool season vegetable. This means that growing lettuce can be done in the beginning of spring when the weather is between 45 and 65 degrees F. It prefers moist, cool conditions, and you don’t even have to worry if the last frost has gone by because the seedlings can tolerate a light frost.
So, “when do I need to plant lettuce?” Plant it at the very beginning of spring. However, as with other vegetables, you don’t so much have to worry about that frost. What you want to make sure of when growing lettuce is that the ground has to be workable. If the ground is still frozen, wait until it thaws. You want the soil worked out so there are no clumps.
How to Grow Lettuce from Seeds
When planning on growing lettuce, you want to make sure your soil is loose, fertilized properly and well drained. Your soil should be moist, but not soaked. Lettuce prefers a slightly acidic soil, so some compost can be worked into the soil if need be.
Again, work your soil so that there are no clumps. This is important so that the seeds can get good soil to seed contact. This is vital for nutrition. How to grow lettuce includes making sure your lettuce seeds are buried about ¼ to ½ an inch below the surface of the soil, covered by finely worked soil.
Make your rows are 12 to 15 inches across and put about 18 inches between the rows. When you see growing lettuce seedlings, make sure to thin them to four to six inches apart. This keeps them from overcrowding.
When to Harvest Lettuce
You can harvest your lettuce when the heads or leaves (depending on the variety) are full sized. As soon as you see they are grown, pick them so you have tender lettuce. If you allow the lettuce to overly mature, you will end up with bitter lettuce, and that makes for a bad salad.
Now that you know how to grow lettuce, you are well on your way to having one of the most important staples in your garden.