Leaf Lettuce

How to grow Leaf lettuce

Leaf lettuce used in everything from sandwiches to salads is a annual, cold weather crop that is planted for spring or fall harvest. This variety of lettuce grows openly and produces clusters of leaves rather than a compact head. It’s a member of the Daisy family. Lettuce traces its origins to the middle east some 500 years ago. Ancient Egyptians depicted lettuce in wall murals. 2015 astronauts on ISS grew and ate “Outredgous’ lettuce developed by Frank Morton of Wildgarden Seed in Oregon. 

Plant and go

Botanical Name: Lactuca Sativa 
Depth: 1/8-1/4" Space: 4-8"  Row: 12-15" Soil Temp: 45-65F Germination: 7-15 days
Sun: Full/6-8 hours pH: 6.0-6.5 Harvest: 6-10 weeks Soil: Well drained/Moist
Container: 6x6"  Fertilizer: 14-14-14 Water: 1-2in Fertilizer Freq: Every 2 wks

Companion plant: Radish 

Direct sow 1/8-1/4in deep 2-4 weeks before the last frost. Sow indoors 1 month before last frost, transplant 2 weeks before last frost. Leaf lettuce like temperatures between 45-65F. Bolting can occur if temperatures get above 70F or change on day length. Germination is usually around 7-15 days, start to thin out once seeds get to 2 inches tall to 4-8in. Keep soil moist and water 1-2in per week, if using a container make sure it has plenty of drain hole to keep soil well drained. Minimum container for a single plant is 6x6, and leaf lettuce does great in window-boxes, pots, fabric baskets, or any other container. Fertilize every 2 weeks with a 14-14-14 solution, avoid putting fertilizer on the leaves. That’s it really, there ready to harvest in 6-10 weeks. Keep an eye out for pests and add shade if needed. 
Once plants have gotten to the 6–10-week point, and the leaves are about 4-6 inches tall. Trim all the leaves off and leave the roots so new growth can emerge. Next option is cut single outer leaves about 1 inch above the crown. Lastly, remove the whole plant. You can harvest a single about 3 or 4 times, before its exhausted. The plant will continue to regrow until the plant bolts or frost arrives. 
-when transplanting choose small seedlings they have a less likely chance of bolting. 
-Don’t let lettuce dry out. Dry conditions cause lettuce to bolt and the leaves to turn bitter
Fun Fact
Vegan speed eater Mike Jack of Ontario, Canada holds the record for the fasted time to eat a head of lettuce, 1 minute 31.053 seconds.
Leaf lettuce grows easily in many spaces, and is a great supplement to your garden whether its indoors or outdoors. I some folks companion garden, adding in chive or garlic will repel most pests and add another layer to your garden and kitchen. With just a 5-gallon bucket you could grow 2-3 plants. This plant has been to space and was depicted on the walls of ancient structures, it really is a interesting vegetable.

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