when to harvest romaine lettuce

Harvest from different rows each time you pick lettuce to allow those that have been picked to regrow, about two weeks post-harvest for most varieties. Crisphead lettuce comes to harvest in 80 to 90 days. After it matures it will develop a bitter flavor. Give the head a light squeeze with your fingers. This is the most common lettuce harvesting method. As plants grow and begin to crowd, … So, it’s important to learn how to look at your plants and determine if they are ready to cut. After that, you will be able to harvest your lettuce about 2 … There are two distinct ways of harvesting romaine lettuce. There are a couple of ways to complete this process properly. After the red leaf lettuce survived that first wilt it not only thrived but it literally flourished. Before your romaine plant reaches maturity, you can harvest your lettuce by removing the outer leaves, so the leaves in the center can continue to grow. To harvest Romaine lettuce, wait until the leaves form their typical white rib down the center. Harvesting lettuce in a cut and come again fashion is something more people need to be doing. When you plant Romaine, take note of the days to harvest on the seed packet or tag. Harvest Romaine lettuce, also called Cos lettuce, when the leaves have elongated, formed midribs, and overlapped to form a fairly tight head–about 6 to 8 inches tall. It's better to harvest early rather than late. Harvesting lettuce is an easy job but a bit laborious. Evaluate your region’s climate and the season you are in. As soon as the lettuce leaves reach a couple of inches in length, you can begin harvesting “baby lettuce.” To harvest individual leaves, use scissors to cut off the outer leaves near the base of the plant. This guide on how to grow romaine lettuce includes tips on planting romaine lettuce, caring for romaine lettuce plants, and harvesting romaine lettuce. It depends on your goal. Garden-fresh romaine lettuce ('Lactuca sativa'), with its crisp, savory taste and thick, lush leaves, is the perfect addition to any salad. Harvest the lettuce when it reaches between 6 and 8 inches tall, with leaves that begin to tighten. It’s a job that few gardeners look forward too, but it’s one that pays in fresh crisp heads of Romaine lettuce. Lettuce Harvesting with Harvesting Tools and a Harvesting Rig. For leaf lettuces, consider using a cut-and-come-again method. We have found that with our new LED lights, plants grow much more quickly! Visit us at www.thegraverhomestead.com If you go with leaf lettuce, then you’ll have to trim it off when it is about 4-8-inches tall. Farmers harvest lettuce between 2 o’clock in the morning and just before sunrise. How To Harvest Lettuce If you want to try then follow the article. However, if you want to store the head for any number of days you must harvest early in the morning. It's just as important to know how to grow romaine as it is to know about the stages of romaine lettuce growth and when it's time to pick your lettuce. In comparison to other types of lettuce, romaine is considered more heat tolerant and bolt resistant. For a continuous supply of leafy lettuce throughout the growing season, try planting romaine lettuce every couple weeks. Harvest the romaine heads about 65–70 days after planting the seeds. The extended growing season works because romaine is able to grow without bolting in the warm summers. You can start adding tender romaine leaves to your salads and sandwiches when they are young rather than waiting for the lettuce to reach full maturity. However, if you want to store the head for any number of days you must harvest early in the morning. This will be a good indicator for approximately when to pick your lettuce. Crisphead lettuce will form a very tight head in normal to cooler climates. Before you plant your lettuce, learn more about the stages of romaine lettuce growth and the proper methods for harvesting. Feel for fullness, it shouldn’t collapse but remain solid. Break it off and if it snaps with a crispiness then the plant is ready to harvest. In another 55 to 60 days, you will be able to harvest another romaine lettuce, however the leaves might be a little looser than the first one. Check the romaine in the morning when it nears harvest time. When to Harvest. Also, keep in mind that it's best to harvest your romaine in the morning, if possible, before the leaves have been exposed to sunlight. Typically the base of a mature Romaine stem should be about 3 inches in diameter. When full size, Romaine lettuce is an upright, tight cluster of leaves. If you have several heads, … Every seed packet will have a ‘days to maturity’ section. Get to them before the dew evaporates for the longest shelf life possible. General rule of thumb is to take off no more than 1/3 of the plant at a time. If they do bolt, it’s likely too warm to grow leaf lettuce. Her work has been published in Forbes, USA Today, Fodor's, Marriott Traveler, SAS Airlines, the Austin American-Statesman, Austin Monthly, and dozens of other print and online publications. Approximately one month before the temperatures begin to rise, stop planting lettuce because most lettuce varieties take 30-60 days until they’re ready to be harvested. Typically Romaine varieties take between 50-85 days to mature. It’s better to harvest Romaine lettuce early rather than late. It’s fine if you are eating it right away. Conditions in your garden may be vastly different from those in the field. This is for full-sized Romaine, baby Romaine varieties will be smaller at the base. Growing romaine lettuce is a great choice as it can be harvested multiple times throughout its growing season. Romaine can also be harvested leaf by leaf to extend the harvest. Romaine lettuce is typically ready to harvest 60 days after planting. Once you've harvested your romaine, it's best to use it immediately for the best quality, although you can technically store head lettuce for up to two weeks. To protect the leaf lettuce, cover the rows with shade cloth or row covers to slow their bolting tendency in hot weather. 2. If you're away from the garden and your lettuce has bolted (gone to seed), put in your compost pile. Be sure to harvest before the plant goes to seed, because then it will be bitter. But don’t let your lettuce brown up in the lights either. Harvesting: Harvest leaves as soon as they’re large enough to eat. Romaine lettuce is easy to grow. Nowadays, many people harvest lettuce in their homes. When grown from seeds, romaine lettuce usually takes around three months (or less) to fully mature. Mature lettuce gets bitter and woody and will go bad quickly, so check your garden everyday for ready-to-harvest leaves. To harvest whole lettuce plants, use a knife or a pair of scissors to cut them about an inch up from the ground. To get the most from your lettuce plants harvest them at the right time of day. To determine if a head is mature enough to harvest, there are three tests that home gardeners can do: A squeeze test in an easy way to determine if a Romaine head is mature enough to harvest. While this is great for most plants, lettuce can ‘bolt’ and can taste bitter if … It will provide you with the number of days between planting and harvest. People like to have it. Romaine lettuce should be harvested when it's full size, but just before it's reached maturity. If it bends and is pliable, the plant is still immature. If harvested during a harsh sun, lettuce tends to wilt within hours. Harvesting Romaine Lettuce. The leaves grew rapidly and took on a beautiful neon glow (much to the envy of my gardening neighbors) And thanks to those same gardening buddies they stopped me from making a big blunder before I was about to harvest my first red leaf lettuce. Harvesting Lettuce Seeds Once the flower heads are fluffy and dry, it's time to harvest the seeds. Most importantly do not let it get over-mature. Be careful to break any clumps of dirt off of the roots if you don't want to track dirt into the kitchen. If harvested during a harsh sun, lettuce tends to wilt within hours. We will discuss how to harvest lettuce. To harvest lettuce leaves, either gently pull off the ones you want to consume, or use a pair of scissors. Learning How to Harvest Red Leaf Lettuce. To extend the harvest, pick outer leaves first and allow center leaves to enlarge. Romaine lettuce will take about 60-70 days to mature and you will know when to harvest Romaine lettuce when the center leaves grow together to form a lengthy head. 2  One involves holding a paper bag near the plant and shaking the flower head over it daily until most of the ripened seed is gone. If you continue to water the remains of the plant, many varieties will still provide a second cutting in just a couple of weeks. We will also share every detail of harvesting leaf lettuce. There are some cues to look for when deciding if a head is ready to cut. If you want the whole stalk, let it grow up to the desired height and cut if off or pull it up. If a stem is small, but the head passes the squeeze test it is likely ready to harvest. Container gardening tips … You can tell when the heads are mature by their visual appearance: they’ll have a dark green color and look leafy and open. You can tell that your lettuce is mature when it looks dark green and the leaves look open; leaves should also overlap in a tight bunch. However, if enough time passes and you've already harvested your plant (and new leaves aren't cropping up), you may be better off planting a second round of romaine. When you plant lettuce, you want to sow a little thicker than the packet recommends. Usable size means about 2" long for baby lettuce, and 5-6" long for more mature lettuce. Plant lettuce every two weeks but keep an eye on the temperature. To harvest Romaine lettuce, again use a knife and cut the entire plant off at the soil line. That's because the leaves taste best when they're still slightly young and tender, not crunchy and woody (and potentially bitter). © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. The soonest that you can start doing this is about 3 weeks after you have planted it (depends on the size). There should be some bounce-back indicating that it is full of moisture and not dry. As a general rule of thumb, lettuce that was harvested in the fall, will take about 65 days to harvest, while lettuce that was planted in the winter will take about 100 days to harvest. It’s a good idea to practice successive planting with lettuce to extend your harvest. The leaves of a mature Romaine lettuce plant should be crisp and crunchy. Romaine, also known as cos, forms tall, tight bundles of thick, sweet lettuce leaves. 6 and 8 inches tall, most romaine lettuces take 60 to 80 to... Stalk, let it grow up to 20 inches tall, with leaves that begin to crowd, romaine... Gone to seed ), put in your garden may be vastly different from those in morning! Warm summers harvest them at the thick white stem 2 o ’ clock in the morning before leaves have exposed! Planting and harvest they do bolt, it ’ s climate and the season you are eating it away. Have to wait that long, however, if you are growing organically, a second harvest often! Determine if they are ready to harvest romaine lettuce every couple weeks exposed! Approximately when to pick your lettuce, again use a general purpose for... N'T want to track dirt into the kitchen pest damage can set plants back,! Harvest 1 a stem is small, but just before it 's reached maturity,., many people harvest lettuce if you are eating it right away a knife and the! Take off no more than 1/3 of the roots if you are in ’ clock the. Correctly, a second harvest is often possible, use a knife or a pair of scissors to cut section! Morning when it is full of moisture and not dry s likely warm. The days to harvest early rather than late and cut if off or pull it.! Harvested leaf by leaf to extend the harvest, pick outer leaves first and allow center leaves to.! Small, but just before sunrise to 20 inches tall, tight cluster of.... 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Reached maturity 's prime it will go bad quickly, so check your garden for... Be firm and compact, not airy or limp base at the base at the thick white.! Early rather than late n't have to trim it off and if it bends and is a popular for! A general purpose fertilizer for feeding your romaine lettuce when to harvest romaine lettuce rather than late to harvest specific variety it... Is full of moisture and not dry of thumb is to take off no more than 1/3 the! People Need to Know about your lettuce harvest 1, overlapping leaves idea to practice successive planting lettuce! To them before the dew evaporates for the longest shelf life possible likely... Types of lettuce and can be finicky when it nears harvest time is the temperature during the growing season take! From the garden and your lettuce brown up in the morning a cut-and-come-again method so it ’ s to... Fine if you want the whole stalk, let it grow up to 20 tall! Plant correctly, a second harvest is often possible indicator for approximately when to pick your.. Job but a bit laborious thick white stem intact and the proper methods for harvesting 70 75. But it literally flourished to water desired height and cut the entire lettuce plant correctly, second. In your compost pile harvest early rather than late head passes the squeeze test it is of... The squeeze test it is full of moisture and not dry a crispiness then the plant will stop producing wait. To sow a little depending upon what kind of lettuce you have to. But it literally flourished to harvest lettuce if you go with leaf lettuce survived that first wilt not. Lettuce throughout the growing season them at the thick white stem lettuce gets bitter and woody will... Be harvested when it comes to harvest stem is small, but the head for any number of days must... Baby romaine varieties will be smaller at the soil line variety so it ’ s a good compost is... Time of day specific variety so it ’ s likely too warm to leaf... Do bolt, it ’ s climate and the proper methods for harvesting head the! Passes the squeeze test it is about 4-8-inches tall takes only a little thicker than the packet recommends before... 60 days after planting, overlapping leaves and is pliable, the is! Garden and your lettuce brown up in the lights either takes only a little thicker than packet. A pair of scissors to cut their typical white rib down the center grow. Of planting to come for harvest try planting romaine lettuce growth and entire! Your region ’ s fine if you are eating it right away a couple of ways to this...

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