How to Successfully Grow Good Lettuce

Posted by Jennifer Dixon on 12th May 2023

How to Successfully Grow Good Lettuce

(Pictured above our 80 sq. kitchen garden lettuce bed) which includes, Marvel of 4 Seasons, Bibb, Black Seeded Simpson, Cimmaron, Salad Bowl Red and Green Varieties. 

Out of all of the crops we grow I would say lettuce is our absolute favorite! It's not too fussy, it produces loads of food, it produces in weeks rather than months and the color options are many.

So what does it take to grow great lettuce? Below are our main tips for growing lettuce successfully and harvesting an abundance!

TIP 1: As the saying goes your plants are only as productive as your soil. Think of your soil as a plant pantry...…because that's exactly what it is. As you go into your pantry to remove food eventually it's going to run out. So just like you have to restock your pantry it's critical to restock your soil with valuable nutrients the the plants will need. You want to add a good compost to the soil and work it in as well as any organic granular fertilizer you have. Make sure the soil is airy and well drained. Humus can also be added, humus is just the finished product of compost. With humus the decaying process is completely finished and was never touched by human hands. An example would be leaves that lie on the forest floor after composting. If you're able to you can add some of both.

TIP 2: Although I'm a fan of companion planting I personally don't prefer to plant lettuce with other plants. I prefer to plant lettuce in rows so I can weed them easier as well as harvest the leaves without damaging other plants. It's also easier to add organic liquid fertilizer to the plants as well as cultivate the soil with my garden hoe and keep pest at bay. 

TIP 3: Go easy on the nitrogen is another tip. Nitrogen is good for lettuce, but a well balanced fertilizer works just fine. Too much nitrogen will create a burst of succulent growth that can attract the dreaded aphid...….they are a nuisance once they begin to colonize and so it's best to practice a 2 week fertilizer schedule with a good liquid organic fertilizer. Some people use fish emulsion, but personally I prefer other less smelly options. Plus smelly fertilizers can also bring opossums, which can dig up plants looking for the source of the smell. 

TIP 4: Rabbits are cute, but terrible for the garden. So you may want to invest in a small fence to place around your lettuce plants. Also keep a regular eye out for snails and slugs. Keeping plants trimmed and weeded will help in that area along with cultivating your rows as needed.

TIP 5: Make sure to keep them moist. Lettuce likes to stay moist and so I usually check on the plants every other day and look for any signs of dehydration. You can also stick your finger in the soil to gauge the moisture of you're unsure of the plants needs. The roots are shallow so a good sprinkling should do.

(Marvel of 4 Seasons grown at South GA Seed Company Farm)

TIP 6: As the season progresses make sure to monitor your soil temperature especially during the middle of the day. Water to help keep the roots cooler and slow the bolting process. The bolting process is just another word for flowering. Lettuce is an annual plant and as the temperature warms the plant will eventually turn bitter and send up a large flowering stalk. Once this happens the lettuce is only good for composting and needs to be pulled. So if you live in a warmer region look for varieties that are more heat tolerant. Black Seeded Simpson, Marvel of 4 Season (Our Favorite), Green Oakleaf, Parris Island Cos, Ruby Red, Salad Bowl Red and Green varieties. And we do sell all these varieties too.

TIP 7: And last, but not least clip lettuce about 2 to 3 inches above the soil. Some people say just clip the outer leaves, but we personally clip the whole plant. It honestly grows back just as quick and fuller too. I have harvested bags and bags of lettuce already this year and in fact will need to do so's that productive! On just 80 sq. of planted lettuce rows we've already harvested around 15 gallons of lettuce.....and we are still cropping due to the cooler temps. So make sure to plant lettuce in cooler seasons for longer harvest. 

Well that pretty much sums up this article on How to grow lettuce successfully? Again we have all these varieties listed for sale on our webstore and here's a link below

Thanks for reading and God Bless, 

From South GA Seed Company