Lettuce Salad Production
Lettuce salad production in the home garden is one of the most worthwhile forms of gardening
activity that you can undertake. Lettuce has been the main and often the only ingredient of a Green Salad for many
years and no summer would be complete without this regular addition to your diet.
There are four main lettuce types:
Crisphead which is the main commercial variety often sold under the name "iceland". Because of its long
maturity period this type is difficult to grow at home.
Butterhead has a smaller softer head of loosely folded leaves. With a milder flavor than the
Leaf lettuce and easier to grow, this type is a natural choice for the home garden.
Leaf lettuce has no head, just leaves that come in many colors and textures. This is
generally considered to be the easiest type to grow.
Cos or Romaine lettuce has an upright cylindrical head of tightly folded leaves.
Lettuce prefers a well-drained, moist soil into which plenty of organic matter has been
incorporated. It is a cool season crop that tends to bolt or run to seed in hot weather. To achieve a constant
supply throughout the season, small sowings should be made every 10-14 days. The first seeds can be sown indoors
and transplanted when the risk of frost has passed.
As the seedlings grow, they wiil need to be thinned. Leaf lettuce needs a spacing of 4-6 inches
between plants and Butterhead and Cos 6-10 inches. Apply fertilizer to the soil before planting and again when the
seedlings reach 2-3 inches high. Depending on the weather, the plants will need approximately one inch of water per
week to ensure healthy growth. Harvest the crop when it is young and tender since lettuce tends to become bitter
tasting with age.
Follow these guidelines for lettuce salad production and you will be able to enjoy a fresh green
salad throughout the summer months.