23 June 2012, by gj
Having a nice fresh salad in the summer is easy enough to grow, although the timing is a bit odd.
You see, unlike its cohorts cucumbers and tomatoes, lettuce does not like the heat; and will in fact bolt when it gets too warm.
To play this lettuce-game, you can:
1. Choose a slow bolting variety.
2. Shade your plants or plant in a shady area.
3. Time their harvest to come with the tomatoes and cucumbers are arriving.
If you live in a hotter region, try all three methods.
The loose leaf lettuce varieties are wonderful because they are a ‘cut and come again’ crop, meaning you can harvest a little from each plant as you need it. Harvest from the bottom up until the plant begins to bolt.
The down side of these types is that the leaves are limp and wilt quickly. The head lettuces are crispier, and some that form a loose head can be harvested sparingly like a leaf variety.
We plant a few different kinds as you can see.
Lettuce can take some cold, so we start planting them early. Later in the summer we choose heat tolerant types, and then plant another crop towards the end of the season to enjoy in the fall.
Lettuce seeds are tiny, just scatter them in the garden and cover lightly with soil, water.
Thin by pulling small plants, which make a nice salad by themselves.
Many lettuce varieties also do well in containers.
Botanical name: Lactuca sativa
Yield: one plant per seed after thinning
Days to maturity: 25-60 depending on variety
Storage: Tips from Stella’s Kitchen