Grow a bountiful lettuce crop by following these 6 tips

When it comes to growing vegetables, there are few that ask less of a gardener than lettuce. Whether it’s a loose-leaf variety or a crisphead lettuce, they are easy to grow in the cool, moist soil of spring and fall when temperatures remain between 45 and 75 degrees. No matter which type you decide to grow, lettuce will reward your efforts with delicious flavors and plenty of beneficial nutrients.
Here are the most popular types for you to try:
Crisphead: An easy-to-grow variety that includes the popular iceberg lettuce
Romaine: Lengthy leaves with stiff ribs that tolerate hot weather better than most varieties
Loose-leaf: Tender, tasty leaves without heads
Bibb: Small heads of leaves with crunchy ribs
If you would like to grow your own fresh salads, just follow these 6 tips:
1. Prepare your bed
Prepare your planting bed by loosening the soil to a depth of 10" or more. Add about an inch of compost or rotted manure.
2. Sow the seeds
Sow lettuce seeds no more than a quarter of an inch deep. Keep them 1 inch apart either in rows or squares. Or you can just broadcast them over the bed.
3. Thin the seedlings
As the seedlings grow, thin leaf lettuce to 6 inches apart, romaine lettuce to 10 inches, and allow 12 inches between head varieties.
4. Keep them moist
After you have finished thinning, mulch between the plants with grass clippings, chopped leaves, or some other organic mulch to discourage weeds and retain soil moisture. It's important not to allow the soil to dry out while your lettuce is growing. In most types of soil, you’ll need to water lettuce every other day between rains.
5. Beware of hot weather
Should hot weather hit as your head lettuce is reaching its peak, cover the plants with a lightweight cloth (an old sheet will do) held up with stakes. Lettuce doesn't last long in the garden, especially when the weather is hot. Harvest lettuce when conditions are good, and store it in the refrigerator.
6. Dispose of your unused seeds
Don't save unused seeds for next year. A low germination rate is typically caused by dead seeds. Expect spotty germination from lettuce seeds that are more than one year old.

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