Harvest Lettuce So It Keeps Producing

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.

How to harvest your lettuce so it will keep producing. So you don't have to plant a new batch every couple of weeks.

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.

How to harvest your lettuce so it will keep producing. So you don't have to plant a new batch every couple of 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.

How to harvest your lettuce so it will keep producing. So you don't have to plant a new batch every couple of weeks.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Keep harvesting your lettuce until it gets bitter.  Then let it grow out and “go to seed.”  Collect your seeds for next year.
  4. If your scissors aren’t clean and sharp, your lettuce could get bitter sooner.  (I just can’t stress clean & sharp scissors enough.)
  5. 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.

 

18 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing all of these tips.

  2. Therese Bizabishaka

    May 25, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Yes I definitely think this is the way to grow and harvest lettuce. I grew my first vegie patch last summer here in Australia and put in some lettuce seedlings. They grew well and I let them fully grow and then harvest with the sissors. They grew back fine but it was summer and they went bitter and seeded quickly. This autumn I took those heads of seed and shook them all over the garden bed. They sprouted well, maybe a little to well, even in the gravel edge of the garden bed. They are now growing shoulder to shoulder and I harvested my first lot the other day with the sissors. Even though they are still quite young the leaves were the perfect size and tasted so much better. One question though. Do the leaves only grow back once or as many times you cut them? Blessings Therese.

    • They keep coming if you take good care of them. They will eventually get bitter though, and that’s when I let them go to seed.
      (Just make sure to water them well right after you harvest them).

  3. I have harvested lettuce by this method and by plucking a leaf or two here and there. But I think I like the whole head harvesting method the best.

  4. Therese Bizabishaka

    May 26, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Thanks I’ll remember to water straight after which I hadn’t been doing previously.

  5. Thanks for sharing your lettuce tips!

  6. Great tips!!! I will do precise cuts this year! Thank you for sharing this excellent information.

  7. thanks for these awesome tips! It’s my first time trying to grow lettuce and cucumbers so this is super helpful!!

  8. Great tips for us newbie gardeners. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  9. Excellent post, never thought that you could do this, will definitely be trying. Thanks for sharing this information with us. Blessings

  10. Great tips! You reminded me…I need to harvest lettuce tomorrow!

  11. Going to try and grow A store bought head of lettuce this way. Thanks.

  12. Just harvested a head of lettuce from my first real garden. It is lovely! I do want to know however, how do you seed lettuce as I am sure this is a question that is asked lots :o)?!? I was told once a long time ago, but have completely forgotten. Instructions on “how to” would be a blessing! Thanks.

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