Know How: Harvesting Lettuce

Unless you’re growing head lettuce, your greens can be a “cut and come again” crop. Instead of pulling the entire plant, thus ending the fresh salads, use scissors to cut off the outer leaves near the base of the plant. Leave the inner leaves intact and the entire plant will continue to grow. I’ve been harvesting my lettuce this way for a month and will continue to do so until the plant goes to seed.

This is what my lettuce looked like before today’s harvest:

This is what it looks like now:

Within a week, it will look like that first picture again.

This article has 18 comments

  1. already eating black simpson lettuce!

  2. Denise DerGarabedian
    Saturday 28 April 2012, 4:53 pm

    i am cutting the bottom pieces off several of my lettuces each day and it’s enough for two of us to feast on :)

  3. Healthy Stepping Stones
    Saturday 28 April 2012, 4:53 pm

    can’t wait for mine to start producing…

  4. Tina Crawford-Shellkopf
    Saturday 28 April 2012, 4:53 pm

    I bought 4 different lettuces, when i used them I cut the bottoms off and put them in a bowl with water and they sprouted new leaves. My daughter loves them and calls it “paper lettuce” because it is so thin.

  5. Most-excellent tip.  I had the best time harvesting lettuce like this when we lived in Nebraska.  It’s tougher to grow lettuce here in Florida — although I’d guess your climate is similar enough to ours.  What kind of seeds are you sowing?  Maybe it isn’t too late for me…

    •  @vollmerdp Our climates my not be too similar. I’m in a cooler region of Hawaii – temps have been in the 70s all month (low to mid, mostly). I’m growing red oak leaf, baby romaine, and butter crunch, all from Seeds of Change. Have you tried a shady spot, in containers?

  6. I harvest my loose leaf lettuces all summer as well as swiss chard and kale. Unfortunately i live in ohio so i wont get the first lettuce until june : ( I envy folks with 2 or more growing seasons

  7. That is how I harvest ours also…for some reason, I haven’t been able to grow head lettuce and this way works great for us.  the plants continue giving until they are exhausted ;-)

  8. Claudine Anne McCormack Jalajas
    Sunday 29 April 2012, 3:42 pm

    I never have luck with lettuce. Well, I do..but the bugs get there before me. :(

  9. Found it interesting that you planted in cement block.

  10. RT @eartheats Harvesting lettuce: Use scissors to cut off the outer leaves near base, leave the inner leaves intact http://t.co/5aMgx7Lz

  11. @eartheats Good advice to every gardener!

  12. Attainable Sustainable
    Wednesday 2 May 2012, 9:25 am

    Claudine Anne McCormack Jalajas: Have you tried growing your lettuce in containers or hanging baskets? It does deter some pests.

  13. I just love the salad plants grown in pots and used as you need them. They are so happy on a sunny windowsill.

  14. Thank you so much!

  15. I’m one of those people who oh and aah at the beautiful greens at farmer’s markets (rarely are they that admirable on store shelves). Your photos are worth ooh-ing over. I’ll bet the lettuce is fresh and delicious!

  16. [...] a leaf lettuce variety and you can start harvesting in about a month, and continue doing so for [...]

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