How To Gow Loose Leaf Lettuce

Loose Leaf Lettuce
Loose Leaf Lettuce

Loose leaf lettuce is one of the favorite green leafy vegetables that not only makes a salad taste great but also loaded with essential nutrients and minerals that benefit our health. Loose leaf lettuce is incredibly easy to grow in your home garden and can save you money. Well, here’s how to go about growing loose leaf lettuce:

Start seeds indoors

You should start seeds indoors in the early spring. Your seedling containers don’t need to be burry too deep since the plants produce shallow roots. Just cover the seeds lightly with soil, but make sure they receive a little light to germinate.

Planting loose leaf lettuce

Before transferring the seedlings out into the garden, it is important to orient them to weather outside during the day while they’re inside the containers. Experts recommend doing this for about three days to protect them from the shock of cool spring.

Make sure your garden soil is well-drained and moist. Mix your existing soil with compost or peat moss, as compost or peat moss help hold water and the nutrients necessary to keep lettuce growing. It is important to space the seedlings at least 8 inches apart.

You should fertilize your plants, preferably three weeks after transplanting. Be sure to use a slow-release fertilizer or an organic alfalfa meal. Also, use an organic mulch to help retain soil moisture as well as prevent weeds. You should water the plants anytime you see the leaves wilting.

Planting lettuce in the shade of taller plants like tomatoes can help prevent lettuce from bolting in the heat of summer. While loose leaf lettuce is a typical spring crop, you can still grow a fall crop in the cool autumn weather. Create cool, moistened soil by merely covering it with a bale of straw. After a week, you can sow another batch of lettuce seeds.

Harvesting Loose Leaf Lettuce

One fantastic thing about loose leaf lettuce varieties is that you’re able to enjoy continuous harvest as long the temperatures remain 60-65 degree Fahrenheit.

You can start harvesting the loose leaf lettuce once the outer leaves are 2-3 inches tall. For the best harvest, use shears or a pair of scissors and make sure you harvest the leaves in the morning before exposure to the sun. When cutting the leaves, however, you’ll need to be careful not to cut into or below the crown. Precisely, cut an inch above the crown.

You’ll have multiple rows of loose leaf lettuce growing in your garden, with some plants at the same maturity stage and some days or weeks behind. If the plants reach a mature stage, just cut off or uproot them to give room to the remaining lettuce. To enjoy a more revolving supply of fresh greens, make sure you always pick lettuce from different rows each time you’re harvesting.

You may pick the loose leaf lettuce after leaves form, but not after the plant starts to bolt (producing flower stalks). The plants are quite sensitive to excessive heat and light. And when the plants bolt, it means they will stop producing. So, you should also cut them off or uproot.

Keeping Cut Herbs for Immediate Use

Fresh Cut Herbs in a bucket with scissors
Fresh Cut Herbs in a bucket with scissors

To store fresh herbs for immediate use, planning timing is important. For best results, fresh herbs should be used within a few hours of harvest.


To Temporarily Store Fresh Cut Herbs For Later Use:

  • Wash the herbs in cool water,
  • Shake the excess water,
  • loosely wrap the herbs in a paper towel,
  • and store in the refrigerator vegetable crisper drawer.

For longer-term storage of fresh Cut Herbs

  • Place your paper towel wrapped herbs in a micro-perforated vegetable bag and return the herbs to the refrigerator vegetable crisper drawer. This will slow the dehydration or you herbs and extend the storage life of the herbs in the refrigerator for two or three days.

Do Not Use Non-Perforated (Regular) Plastic Storage Bags

  • Herbs need to breathe and placing your herbs in a standard (non-perforated) storage, or freezer bag will cause your herbs to begin to spoil and mold almost immediately degrading the herbs shelf life, food quality and eventually food safety.

When are peaches in season?

There are few reasons to know when peaches are in season. Among them is when to get the best value for your dollar. While many fruits and occasional including peaches are available year-round due to imports there really is a season for peaches. The season may vary somewhat depending on where you live in the country. However, usually, summer is the time when you will get the best value for your dollar. This is when the peaches are the freshest, the most plentiful, and the least costly to put on your families table or two can or make preserves of or to dry for future use.

Season:

  • May to October.

When Selecting Peaches Look For:

  • Fairly firm to slightly soft, golden-yellow or cream-colored fruit with a red blush, depending on variety, Peaches which are green, shriveled or bruised should be avoided.

To store:

  • Refrigerate. Use within 3 to 5 days
  • Home can peaches and store in the pantry or root cellar for three years or more.

To prepare:

  • Peel, cut in halves, and remove seed, then slice into wedges
  • To prevent browning, If sliced peaches are not eaten immediately:
    • sprinkle with lemon juice or a little ascorbic-acid mixture for fruit.

To prevent browning:

  • If sliced peaches are not eaten immediately, sprinkle with lemon juice or a little ascorbic-acid mixture for fruit.

To serve:

  • Peaches can be washed and eaten raw unpeeled or peeled.
  • Peaches can be used in recipes below and in salads, desserts, pies, preserves, or smoothies.

Related References:

Cooking Measures – Green / Bell Pepper

Green Bell (Sweet) Peppers In The Market.
Green Bell (Sweet) Peppers In The Market.

Recently while translating an old handwritten recipe, I ran across one of those recipes where the ingredient is simply listed as a green pepper. However, not all green or bell peppers are the same size so having some explanation of an equivalent may be useful. Additionally, if you ever need to make a substitution with another kind of pepper or you’d like your recipes to be a little more consistent having a measured equivalent is also useful.
So to make things easier, here is a quick list of bell pepper equivalents based on size, which I hope you find helpful.

Red and Yellow Bell Peppers
Red and Yellow Bell Peppers

Bell Pepper Equivalents

  • 1 small bell pepper = 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 medium bell pepper = 3/4 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 large bell pepper = 1 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 pound (3 large, 4 medium, or 6 small) = 3 cups diced bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons diced fresh bell pepper = 1 tablespoon dried bell pepper flakes
  • 1 large bell pepper = 1/2 cup dried bell pepper flakes
  • 10-ounce package bell peppers = 2 1/4 cups diced bell pepper

Related References

Recipe – Nina’s Bean Salad

A bowl of bean salad
A bowl of bean salad

This recipe has been floating around in our family recipe box for an unknown number of years. This was a friend’s take on the classic relish style bean salad. The nice thing about the recipe it that is is fast and easy to make and uses common ingredients which most of have in our kitchen and pantry. This bean salad works great as a weeknight side dish. Especially, on hot days since no cooking is required.

This recipe is also very flexible and can be easily supplemented with other ingredients:

  • Canned or fresh corn
  • Fresh diced cucumber, or zucchini (or other summer squash)
  • Fresh herbs (in moderation): cilantro, chives or green onions
Our Original Nina's Green Bean Recipe Card
Our Original Nina’s Green Bean Recipe Card

Bean Salad Ingredients

  • 1 can cut green beans (14.5 oz / 411g)
  • 1 can red kidney beans (15.25 oz / 432g)
  • 1 can wax beans (14.5 oz / 411g)
  • 1 small green pepper (1/2 cup diced)
  • 1 small onion (1/2 cup diced)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) (15.5 oz / 439g)
  • 3/4 cup sugar or your favorite sweetener equivalent
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (Optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper (Optional)
  • 1/3 cup vinegar

Bean Salad Directions

  • Open, drain and rinse all canned beans and allow to drip dry a couple of minutes in a strainer.
  • Wash, clean and dice green pepper into small even pieces
  • Peel and dice onion into small even pieces
  • Combine ingredients n a large bowl and mix thoroughly

Cook’s Notes:

  • I usually skip the salt because canned beans are already high in sodium and, therefore, no additional salt is necessary.
  • I am not much of an onion lover, so, I normally only use half the quantity of onion called for in the recipe. I use only about a 1/4 cup of onion.
  • This salad can be chilled, covered, in the refrigerator until meal time.
  • I generally, use apple cider vinegar for the additional and milder flavor, but white vinegar works fine.

Related References