Quick Reference

Harvest Type: Continuous or single harvest

Transplant/Direct Sow: Direct sow

When to Plant: Direct sow seeds as soon as you can work the soil.

Sow fall gardens at the start of fall.

Days to Germinate: 10 days

Days to Maturity: 30 days

Planting Depth: 1⁄(8 )- 1⁄4” deep.

Germination Temp:  40°F

Seed Spacing: Sow seeds thickly.  Thin plants to 3-4” apart.

Rows: 1' apart

Light: Full sun

Soil pH: 6.0-6.5 pH

Water: 1” of water per week

Soil Temperature:  40°F

Fertilizer:  10-10-10 or a 5-5-5 N-P-K ratio

Rotation: Annually


Harvest Type

Lettuce can be a continuous or single crop harvest, depending on the variety you plant. Head lettuces tend to mature at the same time, while you can harvest leaf lettuces one leaf at a time. The cut-and-come-again gardens will provide fresh lettuce for most of the year.

TIP: To increase yield, use a liquid fertilizer at the plants' base and practice successive gardening.

Transplant / Direct Sow

You can direct sow or transplant lettuce seeds. They like the cold weather.  For fall gardening, you can start lettuce seeds indoors to avoid the hot summer temps and then transplant them outdoors to your fall garden around the first day of fall.

When to Plant:

In spring, plant lettuce when the soil temperature is 40°F or warmer. They prefer soil temperatures in the 60°F range but will bolt quickly if the temperature is too warm.

TIP: Use successive growing to produce a continuous crop of lettuce from fall through spring. Use a row cover to protect it from harsh freezes.

Days to germinate

It takes lettuce seeds about ten days to germinate.

Days to maturity

It takes 30-40 days for lettuce plants to mature, depending on the variety you plant.

Planting Depth

Plant seeds at 1/8-1/4" deep.

Germination Temperature Range

Lettuce germinates when the soil is around 40°F

Spacing Between Plants

Plant seeds 1-2" apart or sow thickly and then tin to 3-4" apart.

Growing conditions

Lettuce likes fertile soil. Prep the ground with aged compost or use a liquid fertilizer such as fish emulsion. Lettuce has a short root system with a main taproot. They are lovely in containers or the garden, and a removable cold-frame will allow you to start seeds outdoors early.

Companion Plants

Beets, kale, collards, greens, tatsoi, bok choy, carrots, radish are good companion plants for lettuce. Harvest lettuce before taller plants begin to shade them. 


Rotate lettuce crops every third year and plan to amend the soil each planting.

Anticipated yields

Plan your garden yield at 6-10 lettuce plants per person for daily consumption, and expect 4-10 pounds of lettuce per 10' row. Planted at 4" apart, that's about 30 plants per 10' row. Successive planting will extend the growing season and keep you well supplied with lettuce. For successive planting and harvesting, plant seeds more seeds every 2-3 weeks.

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