Growing Lettuce

lactuca sativa : Asteraceae / the daisy family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec

(Best months for growing Lettuce in Australia - sub-tropical regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • P = Sow seed
  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden, or start in seed trays and plant out in 4-6 weeks.. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 8°C and 27°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 20 - 30 cm apart
  • Harvest in 8-12 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Carrots, Onions, Strawberries, Beets, Brassicas, Radish, Marigold, Borage, Chervil, Florence fennel, leeks.
  • Avoid growing close to: Parsley, Celery
  • Lettuce table-ready
  • Lettuce seedlings

Lettuce offer a range of shapes, sizes and colours but they are all easy to grow.

Choose a variety marked on the seed packet as suitable for the time of year as some do badly in the very hot months.

Try to provide some shade to prevent them 'bolting' to flower and seed in the hottest months.

Sow in rows and use thinnings as small salad greens.

Ideal crop for succession planting.

Lettuce are shallow rooted so water daily in hot or dry weather to prevent bitter flavour. and bolting.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Lettuce

Wash well, spin or shake dry and use in salads and sandwiches

Your comments and tips

04 Jul 24, Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 7b Mild Temperate climate)
Agriculture: Molybdenum deficiency is often only revealed in LOW YIELDS. Mo deficiency is the most widespread deficiency after Zinc & Boron. Excess molybdenum in pastures can give rise to animal health problems (in reality it is the nitrogen - Mo acts as bottle neck, so that plants can't uptake a lot of nitrogen -- in high Mo soils nitrogen uptake can be too high-- Ireland -- maybe investigate Denitrifying bacteria, microorganisms whose action results in the conversion of nitrates in soil to free atmospheric nitrogen - also useable in areas where nitrogen is washing into the lakes, rivers and streams). ********** Sometimes Molybdenum (Mo) deficiency can appear like a nitrogen deficiency ************** - it makes sense since Molybdenum (Mo) is required for plant assimilation of nitrogen (both atmosphere and soil). So you might be applying lots of nitrogen.... in situations where you have a molybdenum deficiency.... then just washing away your nitrogen into local rivers, lakes and streams.************* this will cause health problems in aquatic life ******************* Molybdenum is present in the lithosphere at average levels up to 2·3 mg kg−1 but can increase in concentration (300 mg kg−1) in shales that contain significant organic matter. The sources of high-molybdenum soils are Carboniferous black shales and limestones. Don't worry so much about the numbers - it's enough to know that Carboniferous black shales may contain 150 times more Mo than average (in the lithosphere). Molybdenum was the most abundant trace element present in the soluble and insoluble extractions of the wood-ash. ** also see banana peel compost which are high in molybdenum (Mo). *** Take away -- nitrogen is usually not the problem when you see symptoms of nitrogen deficiency -- it is more likely a Molybdenum deficiency.
01 May 24, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
29 Oct 23, Getz (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi I just planted lettuce, after few days some leaves come out but the day after disappeared! I notice lots of little lizards, do the lizards could eat my lettuce? Cheers Getz
05 Nov 23, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Check for birds also.
07 Oct 22, Irene Bollerman (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
why is it advised to "Avoid growing close to: Parsley, Celery"?
10 Oct 22, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Some plants react with others or problems in the soil.
25 Jan 22, (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, when you say lettuce needs sunlight, does that have to be direct sunlight or can it be under a patio shelter that has a clear plastic roof? My veggie patch is in full sun, a very hot spot and they always bolt quickly, so I would like to try them out of direct sun, but in a bright area and easy access for keeping on top of the watering. Do you think this would still work? Thanks.
28 Feb 22, Rob (Australia - temperate climate)
Get some short garden stakes and peg some thick shade cloth to them. On really hot days, this saved ALL of my lettuce and only cost a few dollars.
04 Feb 22, Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 7b Mild Temperate climate)
Most clear plastic is considered direct sunlight - unless there are special filters in the plastic. That is to say, if the only thing between your lettuce and the sun is regular clear plastic, you should be fine. As and FYI there are multiple categories: 1. Direct sunlight - some plants require direct sunlight on their leaves 2. BRIGHT shade; for example when I lived in a Condo, my balcony had no direct sunlight, but because the buildings beside my building had huge glass windows I had VERY bright shade and could grow most full sun potted plants. This also applies to living near the water, where the sun gets reflected-- MOST full sun plants are fine with REFLECTED light but not all. This could also be a a very sunny field, with shade cast from one building, chances are good that would be very bright shade 3. Sun/Shade with all its variations 4. Light shade and 5. Deep shade like the middle of a dense forest. I see no reason why you could not grow SOME of your veggies in the bright shade. I find that many plants labelled full sun, are not. For example: strawberries are generally labelled full sun. However, strawberries TEND to grow naturally in the shade of other plants: woodland or forest floor, in meadows shaded by other plants. I've noticed that any of my strawberries that get full sun tend to have burnt leaves, and the best yielding strawberry plants are in a cool predominately shady areas. I suspect that planting your plants that tend to bolt in a cooler shadier area would be very helpful. I've even grown cherry tomatoes in very bright shade with great success.
28 Jan 22, Anonymous of Bundaberg (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Without sunlight plants become thin weak and spindly. There are varieties to grow in summer and others to grow in Autumn Winter. I generally don't grow things from end of Nov to end of Feb because of the heat and summer conditions - heavy rain and wind.
Showing 1 - 10 of 194 comments

Lettuce grows best in cooler conditions. Varieties of lettuce that are grown in the summer (Great Lakes, etc) tend to be coarser textured and not quite as sweet as varieties grown in cooler weather. Because they are a leaf vegetable and not a 'fruit' vegetable they will tolerate less light. Morning sun up until late morning would be fine. Too much shade will make them weak and spindly. Trust this helps.

- John Mauger

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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