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    Our gourmet lettuce varieties can be continuously grown and harvested throughout the growing season, ensuring a steady supply of crisp, delicious mixed salad.

    Check out all our lettuce varieties: Blacked Simpson, Buttercrunch, Parris Island Cos Romaine, Red Salad Bowl, Mesclun Mix

    Not Your Mother’s Iceberg Lettuce

    Not your Mother's Iceberg Lettuce

    Not so long ago, when people thought about lettuce, they thought exclusively about iceberg lettuce, because it used to be the only kind available. Not that we have anything against iceberg lettuce, we are glad there are so many more interesting (and nutritious) varieties commonly available these days. Our lettuce seed offerings represent an interesting mix of flavors, texture and appearance.

    Interesting Facts About Lettuce Plants

    Lettuce—Lactuca Sativa—is an annual vegetable and member of the daisy or (Asteraceae or Compositae) family. Other members of this very large family include chamomile, artichokes, tarragon and dandelions.
    Lettuce is made up largely of water (95%) which is why it can’t be frozen or canned and must be eaten fresh.
    Be sure not to store your lettuce with certain fruit like apples or bananas as they emit a gas called ethylene which accelerates ripening—not a desirable effect for lettuce.
    Historical documents reveal lettuce was cultivated in ancient Egypt 6000 years ago, later spreading to Europe and other parts of the world. Lettuce was introduced to America by Christopher Columbus during his second trip to the New World in 1494.
    China currently leads the world in the production of lettuce. Almost half of all lettuce eaten today is grown by the Chinese.

    Lettuce Gardening Tips

    DIFFICULTY

    Easy (among the easiest!)

    SUN

    Grows fastest in full sun but can tolerate some shade which, indeed, can be helpful in late spring/early summer when soaring afternoon temperatures can trigger bolting (see below)

    WATER

    Keep lettuce roots consistently moist but not soaking wet. Similar to most plants, early morning watering is best to avoid pests and fungi

    SOIL

    Fertile, well-drained, soil amended with plenty of composted manure and nitrogen-rich matter, such as blood meal or cottonseed meal. Soil pH should be 6-7. Soil temperatures should be at least 35° for sowing seeds

    AIR

    45°F to 80°F

    TIMING

    For maximum production, plant seeds indoors in late winter/early spring four-six weeks before last anticipated frost AND direct sow outside in the garden three weeks before the last frost. Lettuce seedlings like cool temperatures and can even tolerate a light frost (protect them from unexpected, heavy frosts). Plant again every 2-3 weeks after that for continuous harvest. In zone 8 and warmer, plant in late summer for fall harvest or grow it all winter long in a cold frame or row cover.

    PLANTING

    Plant seeds ¼-½ inches deep, tamp down soil and water gently. Thin and space according to seed packet instructions as each variety has different requirements.

    GERMINATION

    2-12 days depending on variety and air/soil temperature

    TIME TO HARVEST

    45-55 days for leaf lettuce; romaine takes 75-85 days

    FEEDING

    Add organic fertilizer three weeks after planting. Choose a formulation with relatively high amounts of nitrogen and potassium

    MULCH

    Add mulch as seedlings develop to retain moisture and discourage weeds.

    PESTS & DISEASES

    Lettuce is susceptible to aphids and slugs. Plant with chives and garlic to deter aphids and set slug traps if necessary. Be sure to rotate lettuce to different garden beds every two years

    SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

    Weed regularly to eliminate any competition for water or nutrients. The strong summer sun with its high afternoon temperatures will cause lettuce to bolt (flowering at the end of its life cycle in order to produce seeds; this makes the lettuce bitter and unpalatable).

    COMPANION PLANTS

    Tomato, carrot, cucumber, onion, radish (think mixed salad!), chives, garlic, strawberries and marigolds

    CONTAINER-FRIENDLY?

    yes!

    Harvesting Lettuce

    Harvesting LettuceUnlike most vegetables, leaf lettuce can be continually harvested—and, indeed, is delicious young—any time after the true leaves appear. Lettuce leaves are sweeter when they’re young, becoming bitter as the plants mature and start to set seed (through flowering). To harvest leaf lettuce, pull off the outer leaves, leaving the center of the plant to continue growing. To harvest a full head of a variety like romaine, cut it off at the soil line. Harvesting in the morning is best when leaves are moist and crisp. Since lettuce is made up of mostly water, it doesn’t last long after harvest so should be consumed quickly.

    Once lettuce plants start to bolt, pull them up and start over by planting new seeds (when it’s cooler).

    Growing Lettuce—Highlights

    • Lettuce is the second most consumed vegetable in the U.S.—after potatoes
    • The crisp, mild and refreshing taste of lettuce complements other, heavier foods
    • It’s among the easiest vegetables to grow
    • Lettuce takes up relatively little space in the garden and is perfect for containers
    • You can grow lettuce among other vegetables and flowers
    • Growing your own lettuce is much less expensive than buying it in the store
    • Lettuce is fast-growing and can be continuously harvested throughout much of the growing season
    • We offer several favorite varieties; grow all of them for a living, mixed salad bowl
    • Like most vegetables, lettuce is low in calories and high in fiber. It’s a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

    Here at Bentley Seeds, we want to set you up for success. Our growing guides are designed to give you all the information you'll need to start growing lettuce from seed, in an easy-to-digest format.

    We also encourage you to print out a copy as a handy reference in your garden.

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