Lettuce is an annual plant of the daisy family and it is often grown as a leaf vegetable but sometimes for its stems and seeds. Picking your own lettuce for lunch or dinner has some nice ring to it and it makes the labor you put into your vegetable worth it as it is a cool-season crop that grows well in the spring and fall. Lettuce is a trendy vegetable that is cultivated for its large leaves and beneficial health purposes.
One of the most important crops in the group of leafy vegetables is lettuce and new gardeners always learn that the lettuce harvest can be extended by picking mature leaves from each plant and leaving the remaining leaves to grow.
Although lettuce needs sun, it is also a cool-weather crop and many first-time gardeners think that once the loose-leaf lettuce is picked then that’s it but there is more to harvesting lettuce vegetable.
Lettuce leaf grows well in home gardens and the right harvesting technique allows you to cut the amount of lettuce you need while leaving the plant to continue producing leaves and read on to learn more about harvesting lettuce and if it grows back after cutting.
Does Lettuce Grow Back After Cutting?
Yes, lettuce leaves will grow back after cutting but only if proper care and technique are used when cutting as all vegetable lettuce follow similar annual vegetable growth cycles. While you can allow both head size lettuce plants and loose leave to reach full size in the garden and then pull or cut at the roots to harvest whole lettuce, this, however, might prevent it from growing back after cutting.
How do you pick lettuce so it keeps growing?
Cutting works best for picking lettuce so it keeps growing, although this may take a little practice depending on the variety of lettuce and trimming also works as long as it’s done carefully.
Trimming lettuce involves cutting the entire plants back to a height of between 1 to 2 inches using a sharp knife or scissors however it is recommended that you cut early for a sweet harvest.
Early morning cutting lets plants wounds begin to heal before the exposure to the sun threatens to scorch tissues and prevents it from growing back. The time of day for picking your lettuce can have a significant effect on the quality of the lettuce leaves hence why lettuce should be harvested early in the morning.
How do you know when leaf lettuce is ready to pick?
Knowing when and how to harvest lettuce leaf helps to make the most of garden space and lettuce has a lot more going for it than it gets credits for.
There are different types of lettuce leaves which are green leaf, red leaf, heading leaf, stalk, and romaine and there are 100 of varieties and you determine the ripeness of lettuce mainly with your eyes and hands but checking your calendar for when you planted can helo you know when to start looking for a harvest.
Lettuces are one of the few crops that do well in partial shades and it also needs sun. Iceberg lettuces do not form a head but loose leaves do which means that while the entire head of iceberg lettuce has to be harvested, picking loose-leaf lettuce is that- picking leaves. So, leaf lettuce harvest can begin anytime the leaves have formed but prior to the formation of a seed stalk.
Lettuce can be picked anytime after leaves form but this should be done before the plant bolt and it is best to harvest from different rows each time you pick lettuce, this is to allow those that have been picked to regrow in about two weeks post-harvest for more varieties.
Water is vital for lettuce as they do have shallow ends ad thus needs frequent watering especially during hot or windy weather as regular watering after trimming gives you a good tasting crop within two weeks.