What Varieties Should I Plant?
Some of the main categories of lettuces are:
When Do I Plant and How Do I Take Care of Them?
Plant lettuces and other salad greens in the spring. If you buy lettuce plants at the garden center you can plant them by May 1st. The local garden shops carry romaine and leaf lettuce plants in a six pack that are ready to transplant into your garden. Cut the bottom out of a 1 gallon plastic milk jug. Remove the cap. Place this over your tender lettuce plants until the weather stabilizes and all danger of frost has past. By May 15th you can plant some lettuce seeds outside. A common mistake for beginning gardeners is plant a long row of lettuce at one time. This is too much lettuce for most families.
A good rule is plant two short rows (2 feet long) every two weeks throughout the season. Always plant a mix. Some varieties do better during the hot weather and you won't have to guess. Nature will weed out the non-thriving ones. Fertilize with fish emulsion and seaweed extract (as per dilution instructions on the bottle) once every two weeks. There are two ways of harvesting lettuce. You can cut the entire head off near the ground or just pick the outer leaves. The latter method is called the "cut and come again" method. In a few days you can harvest again from the same plant.
Keep your lettuce beds moist but not soggy. They will be sweet and not bitter if the soil is not allowed to dry out. Also mulching with straw or dried grass clippings around your lettuce plants is very helpful in keeping the moisture in and the soil temperatures cool.
How to Grow Spinach and Mesclun Mixes