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Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)   Edit Report inappropriate crop

What's a salad without lettuce? Lettuces are generally classified as butterhead, cos, crisphead and loose-leaved varieties. Butterheads form loose heads with soft leaves. They are generally easier to grow than the others, being tolerant of poorer conditions. The crisphead varieties include the various types of 'Iceberg', store well in the fridge and are more resistant to bolting in dry weather. The cos types, with a more upright habit, are often the tastiest. Finally, the loose-leaf varieties don't produce heads at all - rather leaves are picked a few at a time, leaving the plant to produce more. It's said about every crop, but the key to growing lettuces is to sow little and often to avoid a glut.

Likes and dislikes
Soil
Stonyok
Lightprefer
Loamyprefer
Heavyok
pH6.0 - 7.0
Manure
Previous cropok
Previous autumnok
Before plantingprefer
Position
Full sunprefer
Partial shadeok
Shadedislike
Exposure
Openok
Shelteredprefer

Sow indoors

sow indoors sow indoors

Sow 2cm deep in pots or modules to avoid root disturbance while transplanting.


plant plant

Between plants: 25cm
Between rows: 30cm

Lettuce don't like being transplanted so choose a cool, dull day when the plants have around six leaves, plant with the leaves just above soil level and keep well-watered while they establish. Watering is best done in the morning as daytime-watering is ineffective and may lead to scorching and evening watering may leave them damp overnight which could lead to mould. Always water at the base of plants, never on the leaves. Early March transplants may need a cloche or fleece covering, depending upon where you live.


harvest harvest

All lettuce can be harvested on a cut and come again basis but if you want to harvest full heads, you will probably have to wait until around mid-May, early June. Pull up the whole plant then trim off the root and any damaged lower leaves. Don't leave them too long once firm heads have formed or they will bolt.


Sow outdoors

sow outdoors sow outdoors

Between plants: 30cm
Between rows: 30cm

Sow at weekly or fortnightly intervals 2cm deep, protecting early and late sowings with cloches. Thin when large enough to handle to final spacing except for late-August/early-September sowings which benefit from being thinned to 7.5cm between plants for overwintering and then thinned to their final spacing in early spring, providing one of the first salads of the year.


harvest harvest

All lettuce can be harvested on a cut and come again basis but can also be left to form heads. Pull up the whole plant then trim off the root and any damaged lower leaves. Don't leave them too long once firm heads have formed or they will bolt.


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