Lettuce produce leaves quickly and productively and they're versatile too. Sow thinly in rows for traditional mature heads or thickly in rows or patches in borders or pots for a cut-and-come-again crops.
Rather than harvest individual heads you can progressively strip off lower leaves leaving the heads to grow on.
Mix varieties of the same lettuce, such as red and green 'Lollo' or 'Oak' or 'Cos', and grow together for ornamental effect. Others, such as 'Freckles', have spotted leaves and look good in borders, windowboxes, pots and baskets, and perform in semi-shade as well as full sun.
For a steady supply of leaves use those which don’t produce a tight heart, stick to open varieties. If space is tight use smaller varieties such as butterhead 'Tom Thumb' or cos 'Little Gem'.
If grown close together they can be cut as required when leaves are young and tender, and will grow again – just leave 2cm (¾in) of stem in the ground. Cut-and-come-again varieties can be bought as a mixture.
Sow seed thinly in rows in sun or semi-shade from now until June. Sow at fortnightly intervals for a successional harvest. Alternatively sow seed in pots under glass and prick out into modules, growing on, then after hardening off plant them out into their final positions or pots. Keep plants moist and avoid droughted soil for best results and protect against slugs and aphids.
Lettuce varieties for taste and colour
Tasty semi-cos variety with attractive spotted leaves. Plants hold well without bolting.
Buy online or tel: 01376 570000
Lollo Rossa and Bionda mixed
Blend of red tones and pale green non-hearting varieties with wavy serrated leaf edges.
Upright to squat habit head producing open or dense heads, with red and green leaves.
Loose open heads of frilled lobed leaves. Ideal for cut and come again or mature crop.
Buy online or tel:01843 600972
Step by step
Winning ways with lettuce
- Sow seeds thinly in rows and fortnightly for successive harvests
- Sow in pots indoors and grow seedlings on in plugs to plant out
- Raise in pots to harvest as young plants or harvest older leaves