Lettuce: planting, growing, caring for and harvesting

The lettuce (Lactuca sativa) can be grown in the garden, in a vegetable patch, on the terrace or the balcony. It can therefore be planted in the ground or pot. It is an extremely popular salad, both for its ease of cultivation only for the tenderness of its leaves, the flavor of which is exceptionally sweet. This plant of the family Asteraceae can be consumed approximately 5 to 6 weeks after planting. Let’s take a look at the ideal growing conditions for lettuce, and list some basic needs that must be met to harvest a tasty garden product.

Sowing / Planting lettuce

We can opt for seedlings, namely:

  • A semi sheltered From December to March for sowing in tunnel nursery. The protection must be removed when all risk of frost has been eliminated. This type of semi requires transplanting.
  • A semi in place :
    • From April to early June for summer lettuce,
    • From May to the end of June for the autumn lettuce,
    • From August to the end of September for winter lettuce.

Whatever the period chosen, a thinning is essential when the very first lettuce leaves emerge, so as to keep only the vigorous plants which must be separated from each other by about thirty centimeters in order to benefit from enough room to develop.

Gardeners wishing skip the sowing stage may very well buy lettuce plants in buckets in order to transplant them immediately, either in the ground or in a pot. Then just proceed as follows:

  • Dig holes 35 to 40 cm deep with a dibble every 25 to 30 cm, knowing that it is possible to use a line if you want the lettuces to be perfectly aligned.
  • Cut with a sharp knife about 1/3 of the leaves of each young plant in order to facilitate the recovery because thanks to this trick, the evaporation of water is considerably reduced. We also take the opportunity to remove withered or damaged leaves.
  • Position one seedling per hole, ensuring that the collar is flush with the ground level.
  • Fill the hole by bringing the garden soil around the root ball.
  • Tamp lightly.
  • Water through the mouth of a watering can, being careful not to dig the soil around the young salads.

It will then be sufficient to proceed to the renewal of lettuce plantations in order to collect it regularly. We recommend that you quantify your needs before buying the plants so as not to produce more than necessary. It’s up to everyone to anticipate their cultures according to their family’s needs.

Growing lettuce

Lettuce is a annual plant which is satisfied with a ordinary soil and likes to be installed under the sun like a half shade. You can hardly find less demanding, which is perfect for any gardening experience. Lettuce can even be grown by someone who has never seen a watering can other than in pictures! And this is good news, because this plant that we eat raw in salads or just blanched as an accompaniment, is absolutely delicious and it is a slimming ally. Best of all, if you organize your plantations well, you can harvest lettuce almost all year round.

All you need to do is plant different varieties of lettuce according to the advice of a specialist available to customers in any good garden center. It is also the ideal place for buy the lettuce plant in a bucket, ready to be transplanted.

Maintain your lettuce

Lettuce is the salad that any hobbyist can grow without any gardening experience. It suffices to provide it with the following few treatments.


We make sure to water the lettuce regularly But with moderation, just to keep the soil from drying out to the point of hardness. Beware of excessive watering which is absolutely undesirable.

Protect winter lettuce from freezing

Winter lettuce is still in the ground when the first frosts appear. In anticipation of frost, it is strongly recommended to protect your lettuces in the garden as in pots by covering them with a wintering veil for example. In the vegetable garden, you can also use a simple tunnel that lets through the light that salads absolutely need to keep growing.


Lettuce is a real treat for slugs and snails. Gastropod attacks are avoided by simply spreading ash around salads.

Its tender leaves are also highly sought after by many birds who like to peck them. To keep them away from the vegetable garden, and therefore from such appetizing lettuce, we can use subterfuge by installing various devices in the rows of salads that the first gust of wind can bring to life. This is a good way because we can scare the birds away without harming them.

Lettuce is not susceptible to any particular disease.

Harvest lettuce

It is before going to seed that the lettuce must be harvested. As soon as a salad has reached the desired size, it is good to harvest. No need to wait for it to grow monstrously large because its leaves lose their tenderness after a while.

To harvest lettuce, above all, not pull out the root since this will produce new leaves, and therefore a new salad to be harvested a few weeks later. Take a knife with a very sharp blade, and cut the salad 2 or 3 cm above the neck so as to leave this small white part in place.

To enjoy the next lettuce after the first harvest, do not forget to continue to water regularly (pot or vegetable garden) because the soil must remain sufficiently moist.

Ideally, lettuce is eaten on harvest day. This is the best guarantee to enjoy a product from the garden full of flavor and ultra fresh. If it is to be stored, it is essential to place it in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator where it can be kept for two or three days. It is then advisable to first pass it in water, to wring it out well in a salad spinner, and once the leaves are perfectly dry, to wrap them in a clean cloth before putting them in the fridge. It will suffice to prepare a good vinaigrette sauce at the time of tasting.