Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce Leaf
How to Sow
- Sow lettuce seeds in average soil in full sun in early spring for first crop. Sow in late summer for fall crop.
- Sow every two weeks to extend harvests.
- In late summer, sow in a protected are that stays below 75 degrees F.
- Sow thinly in rows 12 inches apart and cover with ¼ inch of fine soil.
- Follow the spacing recommended on the seed packet for specific varieties.
- Firm lightly and keep evenly moist.
- Seedlings emerge in 7-10 days.
How to Grow
- Thin to stand 8 inches apart when seedlings are 1-2 inches tall.
- Keep lettuce plants well watered during dry periods to promote rapid, uninterrupted growth.
- Lettuce is shallow-rooted, so avoid disturbing the soil around the plants when weeding.
- Unless there is regular rainfall, lettuce plants must be watered deeply at least once a week and more frequently during periods of drought.
- Mulch with a layer of compost or clean straw to help the soil retain moisture.
Harvest and Preserving Tips
- For the best quality, pick lettuce early rather than late as lettuce allowed to grow too long may be bitter and tough.
- Try to harvest in the morning when the leaves are crisp, sweet, and full of moisture.
- Harvest looseleaf types anytime the leaves are large enough to use.
- Harvest butterhead types when they have formed heads and the leaves are a good size.
- Cut the heads below the crown.
- On leaf types, you can just pick a few leaves at a time, if you like.
- Store for 5-7 days in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Many gardeners wrap leaves in moist paper towels.
- Lettuce is a classic ingredient in salads. It adds crispness to sandwiches and can be used as a garnish, braised, or added to soups. Many of the looseleaf cultivars are also decorative in the garden.