Logo

lett1lett3lett2

DEFINITION

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is an annual plant of the daisy family Asteraceae. It is most often grown as a leaf vegetable, but sometimes for its stem and seeds

 

BEST TIME TO PLANT

From baby leaf lettuce to big, crisp heads, growing lettuce is easy in spring and fall, when the soil is cool. Leaf color and texture vary with variety. All types of lettuce grow best when the soil is kept constantly moist

 

TIME FROM SEED TO HARVEST

Most lettuce varieties mature in 45 to 55 days, allowing many gardeners to plant two or even three crops. But looseleaf and butterhead leaves can be harvested at just about any time in their development. Heading varieties take longer to mature. Romaine takes 75 to 85 days and crisphead 70 to 100 days

AMOUNT OF WATER REQUIRED IN SOIL

Water the soil around lettuce seeds or transplants lightly and frequently for the first two weeks following planting using a sprinkler or hose with a misting nozzle. Never allow the soil to dry out completely

 

TEMPERATURES

Lettuce is adapted to cool growing conditions with the optimum temperatures for growth of 16ºC to 18ºC. 

At 21ºC to 27ºC, the plants flower and produce seed. Lettuce can tolerate a few days of temperatures from 27ºC to 29ºC, provided that nights are cool

WATER REQUIRED - HYDROPONICS

I would advise you water your plants at least once a day at first, using water mixed with some of the soluble nutrients to ensure your young plants are fed well

 

HARVESTING AND STORAGE

Harvest looseleaf lettuce by 2 methods. The best way is to start picking the outer leaves of each plant when they get to be 2 to 3 inches long. Continue picking this way for 4 to 6 weeks until the plant goes to seed (the flower spike grows up out of the center--also called “bolting.”). Then pull the plant and replace it with a new seedling. Another way is to simply cut off the entire bunch of leaves at once about an inch above the ground. The remaining plant stub will produce new foliage in a few weeks. Looseleaf lettuce can be harvested 3 or 4 times before plants need to be replaced. Because this technique works better with some varieties of leaf lettuce than with others, some experimentation may be necessary

Looseleaf and butterhead lettuce taste best if eaten shortly after harvest. The excess keeps well in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks if you harvest the leaves, roll them up in moistened, thick paper towels, and put them in an unsealed plastic bag or container. Store at cool temperatures. Crisphead types will keep for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Use a lettuce spinner or paper towels to eliminate most of the moisture remaining from washing the lettuce before storing in the plastic bag or container. The lettuce will remain crisp for a longer time. Lettuce cannot be canned or frozen.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Due to its extremely low calorie content, 15 calories per 3 1/2-oz (100 g) serving, and high water volume, lettuce is probably the most famous diet food. In fact, the term "salad" is often synonymous with "lettuce." Since it is primarily water, lettuce provides little health benefit beyond its nutrient content

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Lettuce contains moisture, energy, protein, fat, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and sugars. The minerals and vitamins found in lettuce include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc along with vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B-6, C, A, E, and vitamin K