Lettuce is a great cool-season crop to grow in Georgia, especially leaf lettuce. Growing leaf lettuce means you don’t have to wait for the lettuce to make a head. You can begin harvesting as soon as the leaves are large enough to eat. With names like Firecracker, Tango, and Drunken Woman the expectations for flavor are high!
You can purchase lettuce seed mixes or make up your own. Leaf lettuce grows well in a container, a raised bed or in the ground. Many feed & seed stores and big box retailers will offer transplants but the variety won’t be as fun.
Lettuce seeds are tiny. To plant, prepare your soil adding compost if needed. (When is the last time you did a soil test?) Smooth out the soil surface. Sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil. Add a thin layer, 1/4th of an inch, of soil on top of the seeds. Tamp the soil down. Tamping ensures a good soil-to-seed contact with those tiny seeds. Add a layer of mulch and water in.
Some gardeners plant in traditional rows and some prefer a broadcast approach filling in a box or raised bed.
As the seeds germinate you may need to thin the seedlings. You can eat those thinnings! As the lettuce matures cut off the leaves you want to eat; don’t pull up the plant. This will keep your lettuce going for weeks and makes for a cleaner harvest.
Not surprising the lettuce you grow yourself will have much more flavor than the bagged salads you purchase in the grocery store. And, the more varieties you grow the more interesting your salad will be.
Home Garden Lettuce is a detailed publication if you want more information. If you grow a particularly delicious variety, please let us know.
Becky is a Georgia Certified Beekeeper and works with community and school gardeners to increase beneficial insect habitat.In 2019, she will coordinate the Great Georgia Pollinator Census (https://GGaPC.org).Ask her about it!