Successive plantings of lettuce

Lettuce    CO

I am growing up some lettuce plants and I would quite like to have a supply of it over spring and into summer if I can. How often do I need to sow seeds? Every two weeks seems like the recommended but this seems very long for only a small amount of lettuce. There is only me and my husband so I think harvesting two plants a week is plenty. Can I reduce the sowing to once a week or will my lettuce be out of control?

Posted by: Becca Harman (1 point) Becca Harman
Posted: April 4, 2013


To extend the harvest, you can pick a few outer leaves from each plant.
I cannot grow here year round because lettuce is a cool weather crop.

Myself, I alternate with rows of transplants and then rows of seed. I plant the seed rather thickly, then harvest baby greens between plants as they mature, to get a final spacing of a handbreadth between plants. Rather than harvest outer leaves, I choose to remove the healthiest core of the full grown plants with a knife. Then, let the few remaining outer leaves regenerate the core. It usually produces several smaller heads of lettuce. After a second harvest, I pull them and plant something else like squashes or tomatoes.

Posted by: SJ Smith (5 points) SJ Smith
Posted: April 4, 2013

Lindsay McMenemy commented,
Thanks for adding this SJ, appreciated
over 11 years ago.

Lettuce will usually stay in a harvestable (tasty) state for around 3 weeks after maturing (at least in zone 6 for April-May lettuce plantings this is the case for me). If you are in zone 5 I imagine it will be about the same. You may want to plant on 3 week intervals. I start my plants indoors then transplant into the garden. Even though it is just me and my husband as well, we plant quite a lot of lettuce and harvest more or less depending on the size of the heads. I would say we harvest 3-4 heads per week once the plants are mature. This is using varieties like buttercrunch (makes a nice compact head), romaine, and oakleaf lettuces. So you should definitely plant a bit extra (worst case you can give a bit away and make some friends). We use row covers to start transplanting early and the lettuces love it. We usually have to stop growing it by July as it is too hot and the plants just bolt to seed. To still have greens at this time, we plant swiss chard as well in the garden around April or May. This biennial green produces nicely right through the summer and can be used like spinach in salads. Later in the season (September) we go back to the row cover method and grow lettuce right into November (even December if the winter is mild).

I am (finally) planting my lettuce transplants this weekend and I am very excited!

Posted by: Kerry Mauck (58 points) Kerry Mauck
Posted: April 5, 2013

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