|Cold Winters||Mild Winters||Sun/Shade||Sow Seeds||Days to Germinate||Days to Harvest|
|1/4 in deep 1 in. apart||7 - 14 days||50 - 67 days|
In cool spring weather, start seeds in full sun. Sow seeds 1/4 in. deep and 1 in. apart in fertile, well-drained soil mix. After the seedlings germinate and begin to grow, it's important to thin the young plants so they have room to mature into heads. Thin seedlings when a few inches tall to a final spacing of 5 in. apart so they have room to mature into full heads (extra seedlings will transplant easily to grow elsewhere). Plan on 7 to 10 full heads in a 16-18 in. pot or an 18-24 in. window box. Plan on 3 full heads in an 8 in. pot.
Lettuce thrives in cool conditions. Be sure to thin properly and keep evenly moist for sweet tasting, full heads. For a constant supply, make several sowings a few weeks apart until summer weather turns hot. Plant again in late summer for fall harvest. In hot weather, give lettuce some afternoon shade and check water daily. Feed with liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks. Try setting seedlings around the edges of a big pot holding a young tomato or pepper plant. Harvest the lettuce as the bigger plant grows to need the space.
Savor young lettuce thinnings in your first spring salads. Then harvest plants by cutting mature when they feel firm and well-filled. Pull over-mature plants if they begin to elongate ("bolt") in hot weather, as they leaves turn bitter at this stage.
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