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Vegetables A-Z: lettuce

Posted on Posted in Gardening tips, Vegetables A-Z

Lactuca sativa


It is easy to grow. There are many types. It can be sown to the regular place in the garden at 2 or 3 °C (35-37 °F), or cultivated from seedlings with or without root clod. During germination, it doesn’t like high temperatures and has to be shaded. Always plant in rows and make the distances, appropriate for different varieties of lettuce. It grows already above 5 °C (41 °F), optimum temperatures for growth and development are around 18 °C (64 °F).

Distance between plants

It depends on the variety. For spring and fall crispy sort at least 40 cm (15 in) between rows and 30 cm (12 in) in a row, the soft-leaf need 5 cm (2 in) less. When planting in summer, the distance can be 10 cm (4 in) shorter.




Five plants per person.

Time of planting

March-September outside, according to the instructions of the variety. In fall, increase the chances for successful overwintering by sowing two times. It germinates in 7 to 10 days.


It doesn’t need fertilization, only soft soil.


Keep the soil moist. Water, if the upper 5 cm of soil are dry. Water regularly in the morning, or with warm water in the evening.

Lettuce’s good neighbors

Tomato, pepper, sweet corn, Swiss chard, zucchini, cauliflower, onion, black radish, black salsify, chives, beans, peas, cucumbers, kohlrabi, Savoy cabbage, parsnip, leek, turnip, radish, celery, cabbage, mint, spinach, Florence fennel, carrots, strawberries.

Lettuce’s bad neighbors


Diseases and pests

It grows quickly and attracts fewer pests if you maintain proper distance between plants and fertilize moderately. Root lice, wireworms and lettuce mould.

Lettuce’s storage

Cut regularly when needed, and in the afternoon if possible, when it contains less nitrates. Don’t use metal knives, because the amount of vitamins is decreased in a chemical reaction by contact with metal. Store in the fridge, unwashed and dry. Wash whole leaves.


Fresh leaves. They contain a lot of vitamins, minerals and fibers. Dark-leaf varieties and less-fertilized lettuce contain more beneficial substances, while greenhouse lettuce, young lettuce and the whitened parts in head lettuce contain less.


Keep the soil soft. Accelerate the germination process with yarrow tea. Use fresh, young seeds. Lettuce is sensitive to the length of the day – prevent it from flowering by choosing the right variety according to the season.


There are several varieties; the most widely spread being iceberg/crisphead, butterhead, leaf or cutting/bunching lettuce, Romaine and Summercrisp. When sowing, check the instruction on when to plant which type.