Custom Garden Guide

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Lettuce Stat Summary

Plant Spacing: 8-10" (203-254 mm)
Row Spacing: 16-22" (406-558 mm)
Planting Depth: 1/8" (3 mm)
Plants Per Person: 4
Soil Temperature: 40-75°F (4-24°C)
Days to Emergence: 2-15
Recommended Soil PH: 6.0-7.0
Seed Indoors: 5 weeks before transplanting
Earliest Outdoor Planting: Before Last Frost
Tick Can direct seed outdoors
Tick Can seed indoors

Planting Lettuce

There are many varieties of lettuce which can be divided into two main categories: leaf lettuce and head lettuce. Most lettuces are hardy cool-season crops that can be planted in a sunny location (partial shade in warmer climates) as soon as the soil can be worked. Optimum growth occurs with well drained, fertile, high organic matter soils with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0.

Direct sow seeds 1/8 inch deep and 1 inch apart in rows 16 to 22 inches apart. As soon as 3 to 4 leaves have formed, thin leaf lettuce to 8 to 10 inches apart and head lettuce to 12 inches apart. For transplants sow 3 to 4 seeds per inch in sterile seedling mix on open flats or plug trays; barely cover seeds with soil or vermiculite. After plants are 4 to 6 weeks old, harden off for 2 to 3 days prior to transplanting into garden soil.

Growing Lettuce

Lettuce has a shallow root system. Keep soil moist, but not soaked, to keep plants growing continuously. Use an organic mulch around plants to help moderate soil temperature, retain moisture and suppress weeds. Provide adequate calcium and avoid excess nitrogen and phosphorus to prevent tip-burn.

Harvesting and Storing Lettuce

Leaf lettuce can be harvested as soon as the plant is large enough to use. Head lettuce takes longer to mature; harvest before the plants begin to elongate and loose their flavor. Pull up entire plant, using a sharp knife to remove the roots. It is best to harvest lettuce in the morning, when the leaves are cool and full of moisture.

Leaf lettuces are fragile and should be carefully rinsed in cool to warm tap water; rinse head lettuces in ice cold water, drip dry and store in refrigerator. Lettuce is best stored at 32 degrees F and 98-100% humidity.

Lettuce Insect and Disease Information

Aphids can be washed off with the hose. Downy mildew is one of the most serious diseases of lettuce; help mitigate by increasing row and plant spacing for better air flow.

Lettuce Yield Information

You may want to grow more lettuce if you are planning on picking it when it is still baby lettuce.
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