The secret to growing good lettuces often lies more in planting the right variety of lettuce at the right time for your growing conditions than any other factor.
Lettuce is versatile and fast growing with literally tens of varieties with different textures, flavors, and colors available to the home vegetable gardener. Making it possible for every gardener to find lettuce varieties that will thrive in their area under almost any conditions.
Lettuce can be roughly grouped into 5 basic head and leaf types.
Variety of loose leaf lettuce - Red Oak
|Veggie Garden Dairy|
|Also Known As|
|Botanical||Family - Asteraceae, Genus - Lactuca, Species - L. sativa|
|Plant Type||Cool season - annual - leafy vegetable|
|Frost Tolerance||Semi Hardy|
|Planting Position||Sunny position but welcomes shade in the hottest part of the season - requiring a minimum of 3-4 hours of direct sunlight daily.|
|Seed Viability||5 years|
|Germination||7-14 days at 50-80 F (10-27 C)|
|Growing Temp||55-75 F (13-24 C)|
|Seed to Transplant||5 - 7 weeks|
|Planting Method||Direct sow or Seedling transplants|
|When to Plant||Spring and again in mid-summer for fall-winter harvest|
|Time to Plant||As early as 1 - 2 weeks before the average date of the last 32 F (0 C) freeze in the spring in your area but not before soil temperatures are consistently above 50 F (10C)|
|Seed Sowing||Direct sowing lettuce seeds - barley cover seeds, they need light for best germination 1-2 inches (25-50 mm) apart in rows 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart|
|Plant Spacing||Transplant or thin lettuce seedlings to 12-15 inches (30-38 cm) apart in rows 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart|
|Soil Conditions||Well drained - Moderate to high organic matter - Low to medium fertility|
|Fertilizer||Low fertilizer needs, 2-3 quarts per 100 sq feet (2.2-3.3 liters per 9.3 square meters) preplanting of All-Purpose 5-5-5 Organic Fertilizer , same rate for each side dressing.|
|When to Fertilize||2 weeks before sowing or transplanting - when transplanting use liquid starter fertilizer - side-dress every 3-4 weeks|
|Days to Harvest||45-90 days - depending on conditions and variety|