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Growing Lettuce

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
P P P P P       P P P P

(Best months for growing Lettuce in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

P = Sow seed

  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden, or start in seed trays and plant out in 4-6 weeks.. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 46°F and 81°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 8 - 12 inches apart
  • Harvest in 8-12 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Carrots, Onions, Strawberries, Beets, Brassicas, Radish, Marigold, Borage, Chervil, Florence fennel, leeks.
  • Avoid growing close to: Parsley, Celery
  • Lettuce seedlings
  • Lettuce table-ready

Lettuce offer a range of shapes, sizes and colours but they are all easy to grow. Choose a variety marked on the seed packet as suitable for the time of year as some do badly in the very hot months. Try to provide some shade to prevent them 'bolting' to flower and seed in the hottest months.

Sow in rows and use thinnings as small salad greens

Lettuce are shallow rooted so water daily in hot or dry weather to prevent bitter flavour. and bolting.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Lettuce

Wash well, spin or shake dry and use in salads and sandwiches

Your comments and tips

07 Feb 09, (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I'm having trouble with birds shredding young lettuce plants before they're big enough to eat.Thought it could be the hotter summer and birds are thirsty,but they seem to prefer my lettuces better than water bowl.Any suggestions?(apart from covering the plants) Thanks, Ann
25 Nov 14, Matt Sheppard (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Believe it or not, try a small scarecrow in the garden. We have two gardens, each with similar plantings. In one the lettuces have been shredded but the one with the scarecrow is perfect....
02 Aug 19, Selwyn (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Try hanging old CD's up on string. I have heard that the birds don't like the flashing the CD's give off in the sun. Hope this helps.
28 Sep 19, Libby Prenton (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I live in Northland and have moved from the UK so am lacking experience in what grows well in this warm climate. I struggled to grow salads through the summer last year. Which varieties of lettuce grow/stand better through hot weather without so much tendency to go bitter or bolt? Thanks, Libby
02 Oct 19, Anon (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
As it says here read the packet for when to plant. Generally the open (not heading) type are better for summer, butter head or butter crunch etc. Try and provide some shade during the day, in the sun in the morning in the shade in the afternoon or shade cloth frame. .
09 Oct 19, anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have found it best to raise seedlings and plant lettuces and similar salad crops on the East side of house below the eaves. They get early morning sun until about 11am and then they are in shade or indirect sun. Everything thrives. I just recently put green shadecloth around raised garden be for the same reason as last year everything dried out too easily and required daily soaking. in the present drought I think I might be ok with these two precautions for spring-summer crops.
07 Oct 19, Anon (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I'm Australian sub tropical and if you are similar weather then we mainly grow things from March into winter and some things from late winter into spring/early summer. Most of what you read in Australia and probably NZ applies to temperate and colder climates. They all talk about planting after the last frost. Where I live we generally don't have frosts. Never had one in my yard in 40 years. Things don't grow much here in July August otherwise can grow things most of the year. Summer hot and requires a lot of watering and attention and only certain things will grow. I rest my ground in summer.

Believe it or not, try a small scarecrow in the garden. We have two gardens, each with similar plantings. In one the lettuces have been shredded but the one with the scarecrow is perfect....

- Matt Sheppard

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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