How To Plant Lettuce- Planting, Growing, and Harvesting

If you haven’t tried fresh homegrown lettuce, you’re missing out. Its taste and vitamin A content are far superior to store-bought alternatives. Are you ready to learn how to grow lettuce? One of the easiest crops to grow in garden beds and containers, this popular salad green is ideal for spring and fall harvests. Here’s information on how to plant, grow, harvest, and store lettuce.

About Lettuce


Lettuce is a cool-season crop that grows well in spring and fall in most areas. This crop is perfect for beginners; seeds can easily be sown directly into the soil as soon as the land is cleared. Because lettuce grows quickly, the best method is to plant a few seeds at a time, staggered.

Lettuce is a great leafy green because they grow quickly, produce for a long time, and are not very demanding as long as you water the plant well. Also, lettuce grows well in raised beds, perfect for growing in small spaces. Lettuce is an ideal container to place on decks, patios, balconies, and porches.

Lettuce likes a spot with 5 to 6 hours of sunlight but can benefit from afternoon shade when temperatures soar. The soil should be loose, well-drained, and moist but not soggy. A few weeks before planting, add plenty of compost to increase fertility.

Types of lettuce

You can grow many kinds of lettuce. I love lettuce a lot because it grows so fast and each plant can be harvested for weeks, but there are many varieties in the seed catalog and seed racks:

  • Looseleaf – Looseleaf lettuce is one of the easiest varieties to grow. It’s also fast, with a large, loose head in just 5 to 6 weeks.
  • Oakleaf – I grow Oakleaf lettuce as leaf lettuce, often harvested while the plants are growing. If they are allowed to mature, they will eventually form complete heads. The leaves are lobed, like oak leaves, and can be green or red, depending on the variety.
  • Lettuce – An important ingredient in Caesar salads, lettuce plants form compact, upright crisp leaves.
  • Blackhead lettuce – Blackhead lettuce, also known as Boston lettuce or Bieber lettuce, consists of tender, crunchy leaves that form a lovely loose head. There are heat-resistant varieties of crested lilies that can be planted in summer, and cold-hardy varieties that can be harvested in winter.
  • Iceberg – Iceberg lettuce (aka crisp head lettuce) is notorious for being difficult to grow, but I have had no problems growing it in my feeder beds.
  • Summer Crisp – Originally the Xia Crisp, or Batavia type of lettuce looks a lot like the pine leaf variety. But as they mature, they develop beautiful round heads. There are many heat-tolerant varieties that are great for summer growing.

When To Plant Lettuce

The first thing you need to know about how to grow lettuce is when you should plant it.

Lettuce grows best between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. A spring-fall-dominant crop, you can start planting most varieties in early spring and early fall. After the last frost has thawed and the soil has thawed, start planting spring lettuce. The first thing you need to know about how to grow lettuce is when you should plant it.

Lettuce grows best between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. A spring-fall-dominant crop, you can start planting most varieties in early spring and early fall. After the last frost has thawed and the soil has thawed, start planting spring lettuce.

How to Grow Lettuce

How to Grow Lettuce
  • Plant lettuce in mild weather in early spring and fall. This nutrient-rich leafy green is a great choice for ground gardening, raised garden beds, and containers.
  • Plant space lettuce in a sunny area with rich, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0 spaced 6 to 18 inches apart (depending on the variety).
  • Improve native soil by mixing in a few inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter.
  • Well-watered lettuce will develop young leaves, so keep water levels up by watering as soon as the soil surface dries out.
  • Use a thick layer of mulch made of finely ground leaves or bark to keep weeds at bay and prolong watering.
  • Promote the production of high-quality leaves by regularly feeding water-soluble plant foods.
  • When the leaves are large enough to eat, start harvesting the lettuce from the outermost leaves.

How Far Apart To Plant Lettuce 

Once your lettuce seedlings are well established, you can thin them out to give them enough room to mature into decent-sized heads. You’ll find specific cultivar spacing listed on the seed package, but generally, 10 to 12 inches of spacing is best.

For baby lettuce heads, you can space the plants a little closer, 6 to 8 inches. This technique is applied to romaine lettuce, which then forms a compact head that is only 6 to 8 inches tall.

Lettuce Pests

The biggest threats to the lettuce plants in my garden are deer and slugs. To deal with deer, check out this excellent article by Jessica. She also wrote this detailed article on slugs. I have found diatomaceous earth to be effective against slugs. Reapply after rain. You can also use barbed wire or wicker to keep animals like deer or rabbits off the lettuce. Alternatively, erect a mini ring tunnel in your bed and cover it with a bird net, barbed wire, or insect barrier fabric. Aphids are another common lettuce pest. Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that suck sap from leaves, causing them to curl or twist. Because lettuce grows quickly, a moderate infestation is usually not a big deal. I just give the leaves a quick wash before making the salad. If you have a lot of aphids on your lettuce, you can kill these insects and their eggs with an organic soapy water spray. This may require some applications.

How To Harvest Lettuce Plants

Once a good head of lettuce has grown in your garden, how do you know when it’s time to harvest? There are several ways to enjoy your lettuce:

Young greens are harvested by picking individual young leaves or picking whole immature plants.

As the plant grows, selectively harvest the outer leaves from pine-leafed or heading varieties.

Slice the entire head about an inch above the soil and harvest.

How to Store Lettuce

Store lettuce in a loose plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

When ready to use, place the harvested lettuce in cold water for a few minutes. Then place in a salad spinner or towel. Rotate the spinner to remove moisture from the lettuce.

Does lettuce leave wilted? Place the leaves in a bowl of cold water with ice cubes and soak for about 15 minutes.


Lettuce is one of the most versatile and popular vegetables in the world. It can be added to countless recipes or enjoyed on its own. Also, one of the great things about lettuce is that you can grow it at home! The idea of growing your own food may sound daunting, but by following our simple guide, you can learn how to grow lettuce so your whole family can enjoy it.