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If you want to reduce your supermarket bill and also improve the quality of your salads, grow lettuce -- and grow it in variety. With very little space, growing lettuce gives you a steady supply of wonderful salads from earliest spring until past frost. Try growing lettuce in containers. You'll have only a short hiatus in the hottest parts of summer, when this cool-season vegetable stops producing.
Lettuce comes in four basic types: crisphead, butterhead, loose-leaf, and romaine. Crisphead types are also called iceberg or Batavian lettuce. Butterhead lettuces form smaller, looser heads. Loose-leaf lettuce has an open growth pattern and doesn't form a head. Romaine or cos lettuce forms upright, cylindrical heads.
Lettuce grows best at cool temperatures. It becomes bitter and goes to seed in summer heat, but you can find types touted as more heat-tolerant.
Part Sun, Sun
Under 6 inches to 3 feet
2-12 inches wide
how to grow Lettuce
Begin picking outer leaves of butterhead, loose-leaf, and romaine lettuce varieties when they are 2 inches long. Continue to harvest outer leaves as long as the flavor remains good. You can also cut the entire plant at the base when it reaches the desired size. Extend the harvest season by sowing small patches of lettuce every three weeks until late spring, then again in late summer for fall harvest.
garden plans for Lettuce
more varieties for Lettuce
'Buttercrunch' butterhead lettuce
Lactuca sativa 'Buttercrunch' has ruffled outer leaves, but it forms a tightly bunched, blanched yellow heart with a creamy texture. 65 days
'Ithaca' head lettuce
Lactuca sativa 'Ithaca' forms a firm head with good disease resistance. 65 days
'Lollo Rossa' leaf lettuce
Lactuca sativa 'Lollo Rossa' bears frilly, dark red curled leaves that are great for garnishes or to add color and texture to mixed salads. 50 days
'Marvel of Four Seasons' butterhead lettuce
Lactuca sativa 'Marvel of Four Seasons' is also known as 'Merville de Quatre Saison'. Its heavily textured, red-tipped leaves form a loose butterhead. 60 days
'Outredgeous' romaine lettuce
Lactuca sativa 'Outredgeous' offers bright red leaves, even in low-light conditions. Baby lettuce is ready to harvest in 28 days; full-size plants in 57 days.
'Parris Island Cos' romaine lettuce
Lactuca sativa 'Parris Island Cos' is an old-time favorite with a white heart and stiffly upright green leaves. 70 days
'Red Salad Bowl' leaf lettuce
Lactuca sativa 'Red Salad Bowl' is often sold as a mix of red and green forms. It produces a cluster of undulating leaves. 45 days
'Royal Oak' leaf lettuce
Lactuca sativa 'Royal Oak' tolerates heat well. A red version is also available. 50 days
'Summertime' head lettuce
Lactuca sativa 'Summertime' is heat-tolerant and slow to bolt. It forms a light green head. 68 days
'Tango' oakleaf lettuce
Lactuca sativa 'Tango' is a deeply lobed oakleaf-shape loose-leaf lettuce. Baby lettuce is ready to harvest in 28 days; full-size plants in 45 days.