Crunchy lettuce is the smorgasbord 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. For a mixture of leaves try Mesclun which can combine lettuce with rocket, chervil, mustard, radicchio or a variety of other tasty leaves.
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 selected leaves. Leaves can be harvested from six weeks on, whereas allow ten to twelve weeks for the whole plant. To get a continuing supply of leaves, plant another batch about 4 to 6 weeks later.
Lettuce belongs to the Asteraceae family which also includes sunflowers, chicory, globe artichoke and safflower. For healthier lettuce crops, grow alongside beets, carrots, strawberries, broad beans, parsnips or radishes.
Follow our seven easy steps to successful lettuce harvest including tips along the way.
When to plant and location.
- Lettuce is thought of as a cool season crop but with new modern varieties they can be planted in all regions of Australia throughout the year
- Check hardware and garden centres to get the best local varieties
- Lettuce are a cooler season crop so in cooler temperatures plant in at least six hours of sun a day.
- In summer, especially if areas are prone to high heat consider planting alongside living shade such as beans or sweet corn or erect a shade tent to protect them.
Get the soil right to harvest a bumper crop of delicious lettuce.
Follow our steps for easy soil preparation.
- Turn the soil over before planting to a depth about 10cm before planting.
- Add heaps of well-rotted compost and manure for strong growth and great leaf flavour. For a no-dig option consider Seasol Liquid Compost.
- Lettuce can be grown in all types of rich, well-draining soil, with the pH around 6.5.
- To boost the soil add Seasol Plant + Soil Booster and a fertiliser rich in nitrogen such as PowerFeed Controlled Release for Tomatoes & Vegetables.
- Water in well and if possible, let the soil rest for two weeks or so.
- Lettuces are surface rooting, so use mulch to prevent the roots from drying.
Step 1 – Sowing seeds.
- Check the back of the seed packet as different varieties of lettuce require different spacings.
- In the soil, dig shallow (1cm) trench rows 20 to 30cm apart. Sow seeds every 10cm apart and cover with Seasol Seed Raising & Cutting Potting Mix. Lettuce seeds buried too deeply will not