How to Grow Lettuce
**This is the info for how to grow lettuce, including Boston Lettuce, Iceberg Lettuce, and Romaine Lettuce.
**There are many lettuce varieties and they all grow differently. It is important to read the details on the packets of the specific type of lettuce you choose as well as know the general knowledge of the lettuce family. This info is a nice foundation for your knowledge about how to grow lettuce.
**In order to grow lettuce in the summer, you need to either shade the plants or find heat-tolerant varieties. In hot climates, you may not be able to grow them in the summer, but only in the other 3 seasons. Heat makes the plant bolt, which makes their leaves taste bitter.
**Finding a spot for lettuce to grow is easy because it grows quickly and can be harvested just a few weeks after you plant it. Thus, you can grow it in the spaces between slower-maturing crops such as cauliflower, peppers, and cabbage because you harvest the lettuce before the other crops get too big.
**The soil for lettuce should be rich, especially in nitrogen. You should till in well-rotted manure or compost to provide an airy, moisture-rich and nutrient-rich soil. Later on, give your plant either blood meal or fish emulsion to sustain the quick growth of lettuce plants. The ideal soil is a bit on the sandy side, but heavy soil is okay as well.
**Lettuce likes a soil that has been pulverized, in a similar manner as carrots, so you might follow an early lettuce crop with a carrot patch. (As you can probably tell by now, lettuce can really go anywhere in your garden).
**The ideal pH is between 6.0-7.0. Use a pH soil testing kit like this one for your garden.
**You can start lettuce indoors if you want a jump start on your harvest, especially if your lettuce variety cannot handle warm temperatures. To start indoors, sow as early as 10 weeks before the last frost date, and keep the flats cool (below 70 degrees) and moist. You should harden them off for a few days outdoors in the shade. Then, set the young plants out in the garden as soon as the soil has thawed and dried out a bit. Space them about a foot apart.
**You can also sow the seeds directly into the garden. Try to space the seeds about ½ inch apart if possible. Thin the plants at 2 inches and then at approx. 6 inches. You can eat the plants you are thinning out. Make it so that after the second thinning, the remaining plants are about 1 foot apart. After sowing, cover the seeds with only a fine sprinkling of soil.
**It is a great idea to plant new small crops every 2 weeks in order to have a constant supply of lettuce.
**If you want Lettuce in the fall, plant it 4-8 weeks before your first frost date. Learn more about growing fall crops here.
**While the lettuce is growing, try to maintain a constant moisture. Mulch will help with moisture as well as for keeping down the weeds, keeping the lettuce clean, and warding off rotting diseases.
**If the plants seem limp (even after mulching), give the ground around the plants a good soaking. If Lettuce does not get enough water, the leaves will taste bitter.
**Lettuces are harvested in different ways, depending on the type. One option is that you can pick leaf lettuce starting with the outside leaves and keep the inner leaves alone so that they continue to grow.
**You can also crop the whole Lettuce plant about an inch above the soil and let it re-sprout. Heading types are usually cut whole, head by head as needed, but you can also pick these beginning with the outer leaves.