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Growing Lettuce

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
  S S P P P P          

(Best months for growing Lettuce in USA - Zone 5a regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays. P = Plant in the garden.

  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden, or start in seed trays and plant out in 4-6 weeks.. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 46°F and 81°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 8 - 12 inches apart
  • Harvest in 8-12 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow in same bed): Carrots, Onions, Strawberries, Beets, Brassicas, Radish, Marigold, Borage, Chervil, Florence fennel, leeks.
  • Avoid growing in same bed: Parsley, Celery
  • Lettuce seedlings
    Lettuce seedlings
  • Lettuce table-ready
    Lettuce table-ready

Lettuce offer a range of shapes, sizes and colours but they are all easy to grow. Choose a variety marked on the seed packet as suitable for the time of year as some do badly in the very hot months. Try to provide some shade to prevent them 'bolting' to flower and seed in the hottest months.

Sow in rows and use thinnings as small salad greens

Lettuce are shallow rooted so water daily in hot or dry weather to prevent bitter flavour. and bolting.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Lettuce

Wash well, spin or shake dry and use in salads and sandwiches

Your comments and tips

22 Mar 17, Brooke (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Can I grow lettuce in freezing conditions that go to -10 degrees celcius?
23 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Lettuces prefer cooler weather and can stand a light frost. If the frosts are heavy and continuous the freeze will cause the leaves to break down and become necrotic (rot). Butterhead and Romaine type lettuces will tolerate much cooler conditions than the other varieties. You ccould cover them with old towels, etc but prolonges frosts would stil cause damage. Try growing lettuce as micro-greens on cotton wool or paper towel in a tray dampened with water. You could grow them inside and harvest the little leaves by snipping with scissors. All the best.
15 Mar 17, Nicki (Australia - temperate climate)
Can spinach and lettuce be grown in the same bed together?
04 Mar 17, Bev Ayson (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
My lettuce are growing well except The round head is not forming. I have taken a piece of cotton and tied all the outer leaves lightly together and now I see the inside is forming nicely. What am I doing wrong.
05 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Sorry you're having trouble with your lettuces. Check whether it is the right variety for the time of year. Unsuitable varieties for the time of year will often stay open and go to seed. Lettuces like cooler conditions generally but there are a number of varieties developed for the hotter months. Warer stress can also cause this even if it was in the punnet before purchase. Trust this helps, sorry I can't help you more.
04 Feb 17, Gail (Australia - temperate climate)
I have planted a variety of lettuce from seed. From about 15 seeds planted only 1 is starting to grow. I can't see anything eating the shoots could there be bugs in the ground eating the seedling before it shoots?
04 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Lettuce and other fine seed like carrot needs consistent moisture to germinate as the seeds are fine. A notorious thief of lettuce and carrot seeds are ants! Sprinkle pepper along the row when sowing the seed, this is an excellent deterrent. Trust this helps.
12 Jan 17, mark Hutton (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
i have just reaped lettuce from my veg garden today. i live in the merrivale area of kzn. it is very hot in somer and garden is north facing. produced a 1.209 kg plant with its roots. difficult to do at this time of year. used madumbi sustainable agriculture products and watered down compost. 100% organic no residues.
04 Jan 17, john shanahan (Australia - temperate climate)
Why is it that so many of vegetable plants go to seed before 'hearting'. Mainly lettuce?
06 Jan 17, (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi John, not sure if your question is about your garden, or just seeding in general. I had total failure with my lettuce this year. I planted in November, and the Sydney summer was just too hot. In some areas classed as temperate climate you can plant all year, but this guide can't fit everyone. Where I live is generally 6 degrees hotter than Sydney CBD throughout summer, so trying lettuce at that time of year was stupid. Lesson learned. Regarding bolt in general, I think it's really just that plants will do anything to survive. I'm no botanist, so this is all my opinion only. If the conditions are perfect, the plant has the energy and nourishment to produce a harvest. As conditions move further away from ideal, the plants behaviour becomes less about producing a large crop (showing off), and more about survival. When conditions are untenable, the plant will abandon the crop, and put all available energy into producing seeds to try again next year. That's bolt as I understand it, I'm more than happy to be corrected.
Showing 1 - 10 of 173 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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