Lettuce

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce   Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce Leaf

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.