Crunchy lettuce is the unsung hero of the salad bowl. Select from the traditional Iceberg lettuce that is the backbone of sandwiches, wraps and hamburgers or Cos lettuce, the signature ingredient of the Caesar salad. If punch is required, try Radicchio, a bitter leaf that comes in a variety of shapes and colours including dark red. For a mixture of leaves try Mesclun which includes rocket, chervil, and mustard.
The nutrient level of lettuce will vary depending on variety selected, the humble Iceberg provides calcium, potassium, vitamin C and folate, while the red leaf varieties may also include biotin, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B2 and B6.
Lettuce varieties are easy to grow from seeds or seedling. Harvest times will vary between varieties and will depend on whether the whole plant is taken or just the leaves. Leaves can be harvested from six weeks on, whereas allow 10 to 12 weeks for the whole plant. To get a continual supply of leaves, plant another batch about 4 to 6 weeks later.
Lettuce belongs to the Asteraceae and daisy family which also includes sunflowers, chicory, globe artichoke and safflower. As lettuce is a quick crop make the most of garden space by growing alongside., grow alongside beets, carrots, strawberries, broad beans, parsnips or radishes.
Follow our seven easy steps to successful lettuce harvest including tips along the way.