Prolong Your Leaf Lettuce Harvest

Growing your own lettuce is so rewarding.  Especially when you can pass by the expensive, bagged lettuce at the supermarket.

Lettuce is a cool-season vegetable crop that can be harvested, depending where you live, from October through April in warmer areas and throughout the summer in cold-winter locations.  Leaf lettuce doesn’t grow in a ‘head’ like iceberg lettuce.  Rather, it is a collection of loose leaves.  There are different types of leaf lettuce such as Green Leaf, Red Leaf and Romaine. making them the most widely planted lettuce crop.

Leaf Lettuce growing next to garlic and marigolds in winter.

Did you know that there are tips to prolong your leaf lettuce harvest?

Harvesting leaf lettuce

When I harvest my leaf lettuce, I concentrate on the outer leaves.  I usually use my kitchen scissors to remove the outer leaves and leave the center leaves alone to continue to grow.

As lettuce matures, it will eventually ‘bolt’, which is when it starts to grow upward and will form seed.  At this point, the lettuce leaves become bitter.  So to delay this process and prolong your harvest, simply cut the entire leaf lettuce back to approximately 1 inch.  This will cause your lettuce to re-grow its leaves before ‘bolting’ and you will be able to enjoy freshly-picked lettuce for a longer length of time.

Where I live, in the Southwest, our mild winters allow us to grow lettuce from fall through spring.

Freshly picked leaf lettuce.

I must confess, that when summer comes around, it is hard to have to go and buy my lettuce from the supermarket.

That is the only downfall about growing your own vegetables….you get spoiled ;-)

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