Types of Lettuce to Grow for Backyard Gardeners

Lettuce is a popular choice for backyard gardeners because it is relatively easy to grow. It can also be harvested throughout the growing season. It’s also available in different varieties. 

Gardeners can easily choose from nutty to mild and buttery flavors. They also exist in different textures, from crunchy to delicate ones. There are also different varieties of colors, from burgundy and pale to dark green.

With so many choices, gardeners are always spoilt for choices. However, it also feels good that every gardener will find lettuce they love.

Let’s see some of the common lettuce types.

Romaine lettuce

Romaine lettuce is a type of lettuce that is characterized by its long, narrow leaves and crunchy texture. It is often used in salads, sandwiches, and other dishes as a way to add flavor and crunch.

Growing and harvesting romaine lettuce:

To grow romaine lettuce in your backyard garden, start by selecting a sunny spot with well-draining soil. You can also grow romaine lettuce in pots or containers if you have limited space.

To plant your romaine lettuce seeds, make a small hole in the soil and place a seed in the hole. Cover the seed with soil and water it well. Keep the soil moist until the seedlings emerge, which should take about a week.

Once your romaine lettuce plants are established, be sure to water them regularly and fertilize them with a balanced fertilizer every few weeks. Romaine lettuce grows best in cool weather, so it is a good idea to plant it in the early spring or fall.

When harvesting romaine lettuce, be sure to cut the leaves at the base of the plant. This will allow the plant to continue growing and producing new leaves. 

You can also harvest the entire plant if you wish, but be sure to leave at least a few leaves on the plant so it can regenerate.

Crisphead lettuce

Also known as iceberg lettuce, it is a type of lettuce characterized by its crisp, crunchy texture and round, head-like shape. It is a popular choice for salads and sandwiches due to its refreshing taste and texture.

Growing and harvesting

Start by selecting a location in your garden that receives plenty of sunlight and has well-draining soil. Sow the lettuce seeds in rows or in a seed tray, and water them regularly to keep the soil moist. 

As the lettuce plants grow, thin them out to allow room for the remaining plants to mature.

To harvest crisphead lettuce, wait until the heads are fully formed and have reached the desired size. Gently cut the heads from the plant using a sharp knife or scissors.

Butterhead lettuce

This is a type of lettuce with soft, delicate leaves and a mild, sweet flavor. It is often used in salads and sandwiches. You can also use it as a garnish or as a base for other dishes.

Growing and harvesting

To grow butterhead lettuce, you will need to start with seeds or seedlings. You can plant the seeds directly in your garden or start them indoors in pots and then transplant them outside when they are big enough. 

Butterhead lettuce prefers a cool, moist climate and does best in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. It is a good idea to provide some shade for the plants, especially during hot weather.

When harvesting butterhead lettuce, it is important to cut the leaves close to the base of the plant to avoid damaging the growing crown. You can harvest the outer leaves as needed, or you can harvest the entire plant by cutting it off at the base. 

It is best to harvest butterhead lettuce in the morning when the leaves are at their freshest and most flavorful.

Loose leaf lettuce 

Loose leaf lettuce is another type of lettuce with a loose, leafy structure and tender, mild flavor. It’s another popular choice for salads and sandwiches. You can easily grow it in a home garden or in containers.

Growing and harvesting

To grow it, choose a sunny location in your garden or a container that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Loose leaf lettuce grows best in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. You can improve the soil by adding compost or well-rotted manure before planting.

Sow the seeds directly in the soil, spaced about 4 inches apart, and cover them lightly with soil. Loose leaf lettuce is typically ready to harvest in about 4-6 weeks after planting.

Oak leaf lettuce

This is a type of lettuce named for its leaves, which are shaped like oak leaves. It is a variety of lettuce that is known for its crisp, crunchy texture and its mild, slightly sweet flavor.

Oak leaf lettuce is often used in salads, sandwiches, and wraps, and it is a popular choice for adding texture and flavor to a variety of dishes.

It is also relatively easy to grow and is often found in home gardens. In addition to its use in cooking, oak leaf lettuce is also known for its nutritional value, as it is a good source of vitamins and minerals.

If you want to learn more about growing and harvesting lettuce, I recommend you check out some well-written lettuce articles by expert gardeners on backyardgardenersnetwork.org.