Finally, the spring has arrived. I can’t describe you how excited I am because of this, and how I’m itching to grow something. Of course, I have planted a few veggies already, but there is a matter which I want to cover today, and it doesn’t include growing new plants.
The main reason behind my love for spring is the abundance of fresh, green veggies suitable for salads. One of my favorite ones is our star of the event for today. So, let’s see how to harvest lettuce, shall we?
Which Tools Are Needed?
In general, lettuce is easy to maintain and harvest plant, so you can go two ways, to have them on your table. Luckily, for both of those, you will need a minimum of tools and equipment. Even better, most of those you probably already have.
If you do everything “by the book”, harvesting process will be easy, but just in case, check your tools. Garden shears have to be sharp, and the knife as well, if this is your tool of the trade. Also, if you are allergic or have sensitive skin, it is best to use garden gloves.
When Is The Best Time For Harvesting?
Concerning growth cycle, there isn’t a particular period of growth when I can say “now is the time”. Since there are many cultivars, it is best to keep an eye out for the appearance of the lettuce. Once the first true leaves appear, you can pluck a leaf or two, but it is wiser to wait a bit more.
However, keep in mind that not every time of the day is equally good. See to go to the garden as early as possible, before the sun drains the water from the leaves. This will make them crispy and easy to cut.
Also, if the weather is warm, see to water the plants the night before harvesting. By doing so, you will increase the percentage of water within leaves, making them even crispier and crunchy.
So, How To Harvest Lettuce?
As I said, there are two ways to gather this green source of vitamins. Which one will be used depends on the variety of the lettuce. There are two main groups of this vegetable and can be recognized by the looks of the stem and leaves.
Those which look a bit like cabbage are harvested throughout the season by picking the outer leaves. Other kinds which look like a bunch of leaves tied together are collected all at once and are most common.
The procedure is rather straightforward. Take shears and cut the leaves about an inch above the ground. This approach will cause the leaves to continue to grow so that you can have another harvest during the year.
There is a second approach, where you need to pull out the entire plant from the ground, and cut off the root. I’m using a sharp knife with a strong and short blade for this purpose, so I can advise you to do the same.
What To Do After?
Once the lettuce is gathered, inspect the leaves and foliage for any damage. This can be caused by pests or diseases, and need to be removed. Usually, I’m doing this during washing, and also, I’m checking it for any bugs or other elements which are not to be eaten.
The preservation of the lettuce is theoretically possible, but I can’t think of anyone who did this. Because this plant is a fast grower, people are not interested in preserving it. The longest period for which you can preserve it is about a week in a bag, stored in the refrigerator.
As for the soil, you can plant beans at the same spot, or you can go with another round of lettuce, it is up to you. However, my general preference is to plant a row of lettuce once in two weeks, so that I can have a successive harvest.
So, this is it. Learning how to harvest lettuce wasn’t so hard, was it? This vegetable is one of the easiest ones to grow, so I recommend it for beginner gardeners, or for those (including myself) who love its taste and texture.
For any questions, opinions or thoughts, I’m at your disposal, so feel free to contact me by using the comment section below.