Harvesting Leaf Lettuce: How to Make Yours Produce for Weeks (or Months).When to harvest lettuce.Head lettuce grows like the iceberg lettuce you see in the supermarket — you’ll know when to harvest it based on the size and shape of the head.It’s harvested by cutting the head off the stalk.Grow Some Greens!Instead of cutting the head from the stalk as you do when harvesting head lettuce (thus ending the fresh salads), you can harvest leaf lettuce varieties one leaf at a time.When to harvest lettuce this way?Harvesting loose leaf lettuces this way allows the plant to continue growing and producing leaves, providing you with fresh lettuce for months rather than for a single meal.Leaf lettuce will continue to produce new leaves until the plant begins to flower and produce lettuce seeds.Unless you’re aiming for beautiful heads, use the cut and come again method to harvest your crop.Instead of planting just once, stagger plantings so that you’ll have crops maturing every two to three weeks across the growing season. .

How to Pick Loose Leaf Lettuce

You can harvest baby leaf lettuce early in the season, pick outer leaves or wait for the lettuce to mature and harvest the entire plant.Baby loose leaf lettuce can be harvested as soon as 25 days after planting from seed, and mature lettuce can be harvested 60 days after planting, advises Michigan State University Extension.Make the cut a few inches above the soil, leaving the crown of the lettuce intact.Once the excess water is removed and the leaves are dry, wrap the lettuce in a dish towel, place it in a plastic zipper bag and store it in the refrigerator.Sow seeds directly in the garden about two to four weeks prior to the last frost of the year.Consider an insecticide to control these pests but read the label carefully to ensure it is safe to use on vegetables. .

How To Harvest Lettuce Of All Types

Lettuce is one of those cool weather plants from which you may collect leaves or harvest whole heads.Now let’s explore a few varieties of lettuce such as microgreens, cos, looseleaf, crisphead, butterhead, and stem lettuce.When Should I Harvest Lettuce?Young baby salad greens can be harvested by the end of the first month of planting.Leaf lettuce and compact heads of lettuce will start to mature 6-10 weeks after sowing in your garden.The outer leaves on compact heads can be collected during the growing season before harvesting the whole head.When the entire plant has reached 6 inches, it is ready for a cut-and-come-again harvest every two weeks or so.If you are cultivating types of lettuce such as romaine, crisphead, or butterhead, you are looking for leaves to be 8 inches.Some of these varieties do well in a strategic trimming of the leaves or harvesting the plant above its crown and they will continue growing.You can cut off the leaves 1-2 inches above the soil.By harvesting these young green leaves, there is more time for the lettuce to mature for the ability to harvest entire plants.Romaine lettuce can take 55-70 days to grow from seed before it is mature.The young baby lettuce leaves can be picked for harvest 25 days after planting and the plant will reach full maturity in 50-60 days.Resowing is recommended if you desire the fresh taste of the young baby greens.There is another harvesting approach: trimming young leaves on the outside of the head for greens while allowing for the inner leaves to grow.More importantly, harvest immediately if you notice the seed stalk or the lettuce starting to bolt, a common problem in hot weather.Baby butterhead lettuce can be harvested early in the season.You are ready to harvest the whole heads of lettuce when it begins to feel firm and the leaves are 8-15 inches.There are a few methods to remove the full head of lettuce from the garden, such as cutting the stalk below the head of lettuce, or digging up the plant and cutting off the stalk.The leaves can be collected throughout the growing season yet the flavor may start to turn bitter as it matures.Tender greens like microgreens, loose-leaf lettuce, and trimmed lettuce leaves wilt fast and are best enjoyed within 3 days of harvesting.Head lettuce like cos, iceberg, and butterhead can be stored directly in the fridge without washing and can last 1-2 weeks.With stem lettuce, make sure to remove the leaves from the stem.Wash, dry, and store in the fridge in a plastic bag.A: Not all lettuce varieties will regrow after cutting such as crisphead lettuce or stem lettuce. .

How to Cut Lettuce So It Keeps Growing

This reduces contamination of the lettuce leaves you're harvesting and protects the plant that continues to grow.Adequate water also helps discourage bolting – which means the lettuce goes to seed – to give the plant more time to grow additional leaves.Remove the center of the lettuce plant, which begins to grow tall just before bolting. .

Growing Lettuce: A Guide to Planting & Harvesting Lettuce

You might not be surprised to find out that the most widely planted salad vegetable in the United States is lettuce.Considered a spring and fall crop, lettuce thrives when temperatures are between 60 to 70 degrees F. Many varieties reach maturity in as little as 30 days, and some can even be harvested much earlier as microgreens.From your garden beds to patio containers, these simple steps will give you a bountiful supply of crisp salad greens throughout multiple seasons.You can begin planting leaf, romaine and butterhead lettuce as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring.Head lettuce is usually started indoors or in a cold frame and transplanted in the spring after the last frost date.The ideal lettuce growing location for spring and fall is in a spot that receives full sun.If you plan on growing lettuce during the summer or in warm planting zones, partial shade can provide protection from the heat.Growing lettuce from seed in late summer may require generous artificial shade to help cool the soil for germination.Once days become cooler, the shade can be removed to give plenty of sunlight to young lettuce plants.The addition of organic materials, such as compost or manure, will increase drainage, provide essential nutrients and improve your lettuce growing conditions.If you’ve had trouble with lettuce growth, consider purchasing a soil test kit.Lettuce seeds are often quite small and only require a planting depth of ¼ to ½ inch deep.Head lettuce is usually grown from seeds started indoors during warm weather for a fall garden.Avoid watering too often – overwatering leads to root rot, disease and stunted growth.You’ll find these annoying little white pests hiding on the undersides of lettuce leaves.There isn’t a systemic insecticide to control aphids, so your best option is to encourage natural predators, such as lady beetles, or to apply a horticultural soap or neem oil.If you notice your lettuce beginning to brown and curl, it could be suffering from a physiological condition known as tipburn.Romaine, also known as cos, forms tall, tight bundles of thick, sweet lettuce leaves.Green Towers, Valley Heart and Red Eyes Cos are all interesting romaine cultivars.Named after the subtle butter flavor, this mild lettuce adds a sweet touch to salads.Other areas can use modifications, such as cold frames, row covers and greenhouses to extend the growing season.Other gardening tricks to prevent bolting in warm weather include planting lettuce in shady areas, using mulch to cool the ground and conserve moisture, and providing a light mist of overhead irrigation to cool plants. .

Why you should pick lettuce leaves before they've been harvested

All these factors trigger the plants to begin to set seed - called bolting.You can pinch out seed heads as they form to delay this process but eventually the plant will succumb.The sustained yield approach allows us to harvest for our needs and keep plants strong at the same time.Many people continue to harvest lettuce leaves from plants as they begin to bolt until flavors really decline.The larger butterhead types are far more robust than the mini versions and can yield leaves for a long time.Red-colored lettuces besides butterhead types and those with a thin leaf like black-seeded Simpson can become bitter in warm temperatures.The red-tinged butterhead Pirat has great flavor and a soft and succulent texture with good bolt resistance.If you have a row of tomatoes, two securely staked parallel lines of panels spaced about 1 foot apart makes a fast and easy trellis.This year we wired a 16-foot-long panel vertically against a low tin shed and planted pumpkins at the base.We are hoping to save space and grow pumpkins vertically instead of devoting a large amount of ground area to them.In some areas flea beetles target eggplant and mustard or Chinese green leaves and make many small holes in them.Give vegetable plants extra water during heat events particularly if growing in containers of raised boxes that dry out quickly. .

How to Plant and Grow Leaf Lettuce

For the antsy gardener waiting in anticipation for the last spring frost, growing leaf lettuce eases the tension.Its fresh, vibrant leaves are quick to rise and are a welcome sight in the early weeks of spring.They are easier to grow than other varieties – including romaine, butterhead, and crisphead – and produce multiple harvests throughout the season.And experimenting with different varieties will open up your palate to new flavors of this leafy green you never knew existed.Individual plants require very little space, basic maintenance, and you can harvest leaves as needed once they reach a useable size.Available in a multitude of varieties and colors, leaf lettuces liven up your garden and your dinner table.Seeds are incredibly tiny and you’ll have better germination rates in soil that is free of large clumps.The key to delicious, tender leaves is to maintain a fresh supply of young plants.Overall, the idea is to plant multiple rows or groups of lettuces every two weeks throughout the growing season.Although populations can grow fast and seemingly come out of nowhere, aphids are easily controlled with the firm, frequent blast of a hose.Diatomaceous earth or finely ground eggshells sprinkled around plants can take care of cutworms and other soft-bodied pests, like slugs.This physiological condition is typically a result of inconsistent moisture levels, especially during dry spells.If your goal is to grow leaf lettuce throughout the summer, choose heat tolerant varieties.Also, interplant lettuce with tall summer crops like peppers, corn, and tomatoes, to provide extra shade.Shallow roots leave plants susceptible to water-related stress, so water frequently and to a depth of at least 6 inches.A layer of organic mulch will help to maintain soil moisture, protect roots, and prevent weeds.Row covers and cold frames can allow you to start plants earlier in spring, and possibly even grow them throughout the winter in some areas.Not to mention, plants can be grown under cover for the entire growing season as a way to prevent many pests from getting to them before you do. .


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