Lettuce - Latuca sativa
By: Carla Markmann, March 23, 2021
With lettuce, it is hard to go wrong. It is healthy, tasty and easy to grow. With hundreds of varieties (many quite beautiful and decorative, even as an addition to a flower bed or container) and a long growing season, you can enjoy a diverse lettuce harvest of this cool season crop for many months, from February to October (UC Davis Vegetable Research and Information Center).
Lettuce seeds germinate quickly under warm conditions (such as in your home or a greenhouse). Lettuce grows best in loose fertile soil. Do not bury seeds deeply. All they need is a light dusting of soil. Keep them moist. Frequent light watering encourages rapid growth when first planted. Overhead watering should be used only in the early morning so the leaves can dry off. Prevent disease by not overwatering. Seedlings can be planted outdoors after 3 to 4 weeks. Time your planting so lettuce matures during the cool season.
Lettuce can be harvested by cutting the entire head or just individual leaves without damaging the crown to extend production to harvest leaves multiple times. New leaves grow after outer leaves are harvested. After harvesting your beautiful crop, a light dressing of oil and vinegar or lemon juice is all that is needed to enjoy a delicious salad of “locally grown” baby greens.