Prepare the Soil for Your Lettuce
Sow Lettuce Seeds
Weed and Water
When to Pick Lettuce
Home gardeners and cooks have plenty of designer greens to choose from, but good old-fashioned lettuce is still the favorite crop for salad greens. There are four basic types of lettuce: Crisphead (think iceberg) lettuce forms tight, firm heads of crisp leaves, while butterhead lettuce produces a smaller, softer head. Romaine lettuce forms upright, cylindrical heads, and looseleaf lettuce doesn't form a head at all.
The ideal medium for growing lettuce is a loose, sandy loam that is slightly acidic and free of dirt clods and rocks. Soil amended with compost or other organic matter before planting will yield better crops. Miracle-Gro® Organic Choice® Garden Soil contains organic ingredients as well as all-natural plant food, so it's a good choice for growing vegetables.
Plant lettuce seeds 1/4 inch deep and 1 inch apart in rows about 18 inches apart. Once three or four leaves form, thin looseleaf seedlings to 4-6 inches apart, butterhead and romaine types to 6-10 inches apart, and crisphead to 10-12 inches.
Because lettuce roots are shallow, pull surrounding weeds by hand or hoe lightly to avoid disturbing the soil. Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged. Mulching the rows with a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch will help keep the soil moist, cool, and weed-free.
Looseleaf lettuce is the fastest-growing type and can be picked when leaves reach 2 inches. Take leaves from the outside of the plant, so new leaves will continue to form. When leaves are 4-6 inches, pull the entire plant before it becomes tough and bitter. Pick outside leaves of butterhead and romaine or cut the entire head about an inch above the soil. Pick head lettuce when the center is firm.
In cool-summer regions, you can grow lettuce all summer and into fall. In areas where winters are mild, you can grow it into the fall and winter. Where both summers and winters are mild, you can grow lettuce year-round.