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The Flower Show

Lettuce Begin: Harvesting Lettuce

July 16, 2020

leaf icon gardening

resized lettuce 7 16

By Guina Hammond
Program Manager, Gardener Engagement

Growing your own food can be therapeutic and very satisfying.  Even more satisfying is harvesting and eating the home-grown vegetables you have so lovingly tended. Many gardeners are growing vegetables at home, and in community gardens, for the first time. Unfortunately, food is often wasted because it is not harvested at the proper time. 
When planting, be sure not to plant all of your lettuce seeds at once since all the crops will mature at the same time and you will end up with more lettuce than you can possibly eat! Tend to your garden daily so that you are aware of mature crops that are ready to pick.

Here are a few tips to help you harvest your lettuce heads at the correct time:

  • Harvest mature leaves at the bottom of the lettuce head by plucking the leaves off.
  • Harvest the crown of the lettuce head by cutting it off, leaving the roots in the ground for the plant to continue to grow, (the cut and come again method)   
  • Remove the entire lettuce head by pulling it out of the ground before it becomes bitter, bolts, flowers, or goes to seed.  If your lettuce does go to seed, compost it to help make nutrient-rich soil. 

"Lettuce" Now Share The Harvest!
Take extra care not to waste food — especially in times when food insecurity is prevalent. If you have more food growing that you and your family can use, consider sharing it with others in your community or with a local food cupboard. Check out PHS Harvest 2020 to learn ways that you can share your bounty.        

Create access to fresh food through at-home food gardening. Learn how PHS is promoting this practice through our Community Gardens program.