I see many posts telling people how to have a continuous supply of lettuce. Their answer is to plant it every couple of weeks. Wow. That’s a lot of work. I just want to water it everyday and not have to worry about continuous sowing, and keeping track of time.
I plant it once, and then done. If you take care of it, it should continue to take care of you. But, there are a few things to know…
First, when you are trying to plan how much lettuce to plant, figure out how much you use in one month. Plant a couple more than this–just in case a couple don’t come up.
Fast Forward to the harvest:
Take your sharp, clean kitchen scissors out to your crop. Carefully cut the entire head about an inch up from the base. (Click on any image to enlarge.) If you pull out leaves, or break them, they will release a little gas. They will turn brown. You don’t want that. When you cut, commit to cut, don’t hesitate. Water immediately. It should be ready to harvest again in 3-4 weeks.
I usually don’t advise washing your vegetables until you use them, but lettuce is one of my exceptions–I do this in a sink of cold water. Don’t let your heart sink when you see leaves that are not good for eating. Throw these out, you’ll still have enough, I promise. I enjoy washing lettuce much less than other produce, because I have to rinse both sides of every leaf. If you leave any dirt anywhere it will get stuck in someone’s teeth–it’s horrible.
If you have a spinner to put your leaves in to dry, then you probably aren’t reading this tutorial. 🙂 For the rest of us, I lay the leaves in a dish rack (bought at the dollar store), and every so often, I hit it with my hand and kind of toss the leaves to knock the water off.
After you use what you want in your recipe, you’ll want to properly store the rest of the lettuce. Make sure it’s dry. Wrap it in a paper towel, and store in a bag in your fridge.
A few notes on lettuce if you’ve never grown it before:
- It’s a cold weather kind of crop. This means I plant it about a month before I would anything else in the garden. And, after the harvest of much of the garden, if it lived through your hot/warm spell, it will be rejuvenated.
- I usually plant cucumbers on a long small trellis along side the lettuce. Not only are lettuce and cucumbers homies in the garden, but hopefully your cucumbers will vine and provide shade for them. Shade = happy lettuce.
- Keep harvesting your lettuce until it gets bitter. Then let it grow out and “go to seed.” Collect your seeds for next year.
- If your scissors aren’t clean and sharp, your lettuce could get bitter sooner. (I just can’t stress clean & sharp scissors enough.)
- Don’t know how much lettuce you eat in a month? The month before you are ready to plant, buy as much lettuce as you would like to normally eat all month long. Save the 2 inches at the base of every head. Put them in some water–they will start growing immediately. When you’re ready to plant, put them in the ground. This is a wonderful project to do with kids too. (Not all lettuce will grow this way. I suggest reds, and romaine lettuces for this.