Wednesday, 24 July 2013 18:55

How does Lettuce grow?

Did you know that lettuce is a member of the sunflower family?

  • Latin Name:

    Lactuca sativa

  • Growth:

    How does lettuce grow?

    USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9

    Lettuce is a fast-growing leafy vegetable that likes part sun and loamy soil.  It grows whenever temperatures stay above 40F.

    Lettuce is ready to pick 40 to 70 days after seeding depending on the variety.

    Winter:  Plants grow year-round in regions with mild winters where temperatures do not drop below 40 degrees F.

    Spring:  Seeding and transplanting plants started indoors starts 1 to 2 weeks after the last winter frost.

    Summer:  Plant growth in regions that are moderately warm. Shade is required in long sunny days. Lettuce seeds will not germinate if temperatures are over 80 degrees F.  A new crop is set every 2 weeks to keep fresh lettuce available all season long. Harvesting goes on all summer long.

    Fall: Still a good time to plant as long as area is covered or protected from frost.

    Time Lapse- Lettuce Growing

  • Propagation:

    How is lettuce propagated?

    Lettuce is started from seed directly in the ground or transplanted from seeds started indoors.

    If lettuce is left to mature, it bolts and produces seed that can be picked and planted.

    How to Harvest Lettuce Seed

    How to Plant Lettuce

  • Harvest:

    When is lettuce harvested?

    Lettuce is harvested just before it reaches maturity. As the plant ages, its leaves become tougher and more bitter.

    Leaves can be picked well before maturity but eventually the plant will get too stalky and less productive.

    Maturing plants need some shade cover or the leaves will turn wilt.

    How Lettuce Gets Harvested

  • Storage:

    How is lettuce stored?

    Lettuce is best consumed fresh.

    p>It is important to thoroughly dry lettuce after washing or leaves become soggy. Leaves are best dried with a salad spinner or placed on a paper towel.

    Refrigerate in an air tight container or plastic bag after the leaves are washed and dried.

  • History:

    Where does lettuce come from?

    Lettuce is believed to have originated in ancient Egypt with evidence of cultivation as early as 2680 BC. Lettuce was brought to the Americas by Columbus and other European explorers.

    The Latin root word lac, is interpreted to mean "milk," due to the milky sap that is found within lettuce leaves.

  • Top Producers:

    Which countries produce the most lettuce?

    China, the United States, Spain, Italy, and India, are the top 5 lettuce producing countries.
  • Varieties:

    Which varieties of lettuce are commonly used?

    Some of the most common eaten varieties of lettuce include Romaine, Boston and Bibb, Iceberg, Red and Green Leaf, Escarole, French crisp and Chicory.

  • Products:

    How is lettuce used?

    Lettuce is mainly eaten cold or raw in fresh salads, sandwiches, tacos, hamburgers, and as a plate garnish.

    Lettuce leaves can be used as a low carb alternative to bread, in lettuce wraps.

  • Top Health Benefits:

    Is lettuce healthy?

    Lettuce if complete with antioxidants that help maintain a healthy immune system and detoxify the body.

    It is a good source of chlorophyll, vitamin K, mineral salts and alkali elements that help keep the blood clean.

More in this category: Lettuce time lapse video »