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.