Last Updated on January 11, 2023
Are you ready to enjoy all-year-round fresh green salad lettuce? Let’s dive in. Lettuce leaves should be harvested the appropriate way so it keeps growing nonstop. If you’re wondering how to harvest lettuce leaf the right way, we will teach you how to go about it.
Nothing is more pleasing when a gardener is able to grow and harvest fresh lettuce and get that non-stop or continuous harvest. Read on to discover how to harvest a cut and come again lettuce leaf.
Planting Lettuce Leaf Right
Some gardeners, especially newbies may think when you harvest lettuce leaf once you can’t come back for it again. But that’s mostly not true. If you cut your lettuce leaf the right way, you can always come again for another cut.
The best lettuce variety that will allow you to cut and keep growing is the mesclun variety. This mesclun variety is loose-leaf lettuce rather than head lettuce and it offers great textures, flavor, and colors.
This type of lettuce variety can be spaced a bit closer to each other. Every week or every other week, ensure you plant new crops so you can enjoy nonstop harvest leaf lettuce. If you wish to choose other lettuce varieties, they are also fine.
Learn How to Harvest Green Leaf Lettuce
You can start harvesting your lettuce leaf or baby lettuce when they attain about 4 inches long. The outer leaves are the best to pick so always aim to cut the outward leaves. These ones always taste amazing and you can prepare some lovely salad green with them. Be sure they always taste superior compared to the matured ones.
Use a sharp tool like scissors or shears to cut them in singles or a bunch above the crown. Avoid cutting inwards or below the crown so your lettuce plant does not die off.
A lettuce farm where you can continuously harvest will have several rows of growing lettuce. The lettuce leaves will continue to grow at various stages of maturity with some being a week or two older. As you continue this cycle, you are also slowing down the bolting process which is what we want.
Every time you pick, ensure you pick from different rows so other rows that have been harvested before can have time to grow again. Each time you harvest, ensure you plant progressively so you can come for more crops after a week or two of harvesting. This is another way of ensuring the cut and come again experience.
Always have in mind that after cutting a row, the new lettuce leaf will be ready to be harvested again in about two weeks.
When To Harvest Leaf Lettuce
You can check your seed pack for days of maturity to know when to harvest your lettuce leaves. Depending on the kind of variety your choose, lettuce can take up to 60 to 100 days to mature.
From the size and shape of the lettuce head, you should be able to tell when it’s ready.
However, you can harvest anytime, just ensure you always harvest your lettuce leaf before they go into bolting. They enter bolting at the end of their growing season and this is when you should discontinue harvest.
Bolting is when they start to enter the flowering stage and this occurs during the hot season. Bolted lettuce leaf will result in a bitter taste which is what we do not want.
During the hot season, you can try and shield the lettuce leaf by covering each row. Use shade cloth or row covers to shield your lettuce. This will help in delaying the bolting process.
However, you should avoid planting lettuce during hot climates. Hold on till the climate is cool around fall or spring and continue planting your lettuce.
How do you harvest leaf lettuce so it keeps growing?
Leaf lettuce is a popular salad green because of its crisp texture, but harvesting the leaves for salad can be laborious. The leaves are not very hardy, and when they are harvested they start to wilt and fall over. You could harvest the leaves as soon as they are ready.
You don't have to do anything special to keep the lettuce growing. If you're harvesting for salad, just leave the whole plant in place and pick the leaves as needed. When you cut off the head, you're only removing the top of the plant, and the lettuce will continue to grow.
Will lettuce regrow after cutting?
The stems of lettuce regrow when cut, and you can harvest the leaves again. In some cases, it takes a couple of days for the new growth to develop. If your lettuce is cut too close to the base of the plant, the roots will be damaged and the plants won’t regrow.
How do I know when my leaf lettuce is ready to pick?
Leaf lettuce comes in a wide range of varieties, each with its own growing season. Lettuce is a cool-season crop and requires at least 5 hours of daylight, and preferably 8 to 10 hours of sunlight per day. Most varieties will be harvested when the heads are full and have formed tight, compact heads. You can harvest lettuce when it is still slightly tender, but before the heads begin to develop cracks. As a general rule, you can tell when lettuce is ready to be picked by looking at the leaves. If they are large and dark green, then it’s probably ready. However, you should still pick them while they are still small, bright green and tender.
How many times can you regrow lettuce?
Lettuce is an annual plant. It will grow from seed, but it will not grow again until the next year. Lettuce is a cool-weather crop, and it can be difficult to grow in the hot weather of summer. But if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, you can keep growing lettuce all summer long.
The first time you grow it will be more difficult because you don't have an established root system, and you won't know exactly where to place your seedlings. But once you have several plants growing at the same time, it gets easier.
If you are growing it from seed, expect to start with a few seedlings and eventually get down to one plant per square foot (or two or three).
How do you keep lettuce growing in the summer?
You can grow lettuce year round, but it does take some extra attention and planning. The main thing is to start from seed in the spring and plant every two weeks until late fall, when temperatures are cooler. You don't want to plant the seeds too early and then have them die over the winter. A good way to space your plants is to sow seeds a couple of inches apart and thin to one plant per hill.
There are several types of lettuce that grow well in hotter climates. The ones with a red leaf are romaine lettuce. They will tolerate hot weather and do well if watered daily. You may also want to water it once a week at least. Romaine lettuce is a good choice for salads, sandwiches, and wraps. Other lettuces that will tolerate hot weather are butterhead, iceberg, and leaf lettuce. They will also do well if you water them daily.
How To Pick Lettuce
Always harvest the outer part of the lettuce leaf throughout their growing season and harvest at the right size. Ensure you plant more lettuce progressively as you harvest. If you do this always, you will enjoy continuous growth for many more seasons. Remember, lettuces will only grow well in cool weather conditions.
Once you have harvested your lettuce leaf, you can store them by refrigerating them for a week or two.
If you follow our tips on how to successfully plant and harvest leaf lettuce, you should be able to enjoy fresh and green salad all year round.
We do hope this information has been helpful to your garden. Happy growing.