If you’re trying to find a vegetable that will be a hit both in your garden and on the dinner table, look no further than loose leaf lettuce!
Keep reading to learn all about what makes loose leaf lettuce unique.
Characteristics of Loose Leaf Lettuce
One distinguishing characteristic of this type of lettuce is that it’s available in many different colors!
There are multiple varieties of loose leaf lettuce. Some of them come in red, while others come in green colors.
The green leaf types include oak leaf, black-seeded Simpson, and Grand Rapids lettuce. The red leaf types include merlot, red fire lettuce, red sail lettuce, and ruby lettuce.
Another characteristic that this particular lettuce variety has is its taste. Loose leaf lettuce has a mild, slightly sweet flavor profile, which makes it easy and delicious to add to all sorts of meals.
Health Benefits of Loose Leaf Lettuce
Lettuce is typically chock full of essential vitamins and minerals, and loose leaf lettuce is no exception! Its numerous health benefits make this variety of lettuce a smart inclusion in any meal.
First of all, lettuce contains lots of Vitamin A, which can contribute to improving your eye health.
Vitamin K is another nutrient that you’ll gain from eating lettuce. It promotes bone strength and may help reduce the possibility of breaking bones.
Lettuce is also fairly low in calories despite being full of nutrients. This means that you can add it to so many recipes and gain tons of health benefits without also increasing the calorie count too much!
Finally, lettuce has a water content of approximately 95%, so it’s the perfect food to eat if you need a little extra hydration!
Lettuce is a fresh and versatile ingredient that goes well in a multitude of dishes. Here are a few that you can try if you’re looking to incorporate your loose leaf lettuce into some new and different recipes!
This recipe for Turkey Lettuce Wraps is sure to be a crowd-pleaser! If you’d prefer a vegetarian version of this meal or just don’t like turkey, you could also give these Mushroom Lettuce Wraps a shot.
Everyone knows that lettuce goes great in salads, but have you ever tried a ramen noodle salad? Try making this delicious recipe for Garlicky Instant Ramen Noodle Salad With Grilled Chicken Thighs and remix your typical lettuce-based salad.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy lunch idea, consider adding some of your lettuce to this Croissant Club Sandwich! This recipe is a fun take on the classic club sandwich and is one that sandwich-lovers of all kinds are sure to enjoy.
Planting and Growing
Lettuce grows best in cool weather, so you should plant it either in early spring and in late summer or in early fall. However, it’s important that you plant your loose leaf lettuce approximately two weeks after the last frost of the season so that it isn’t damaged by snow or ice.
Ideally, the temperature of the soil that you’re planting your seeds in should be between 55 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, if you want to plant your seeds a little later in the season, plant them with fruits and vegetables that will grow taller than them, like tomato plants.
If you do this, the taller plants will shade the growing heads of lettuce when the weather gets warm for them.
When planting your lettuce seeds, put them one-eighth of an inch deep into the soil. In addition, if you plan on planting multiple seeds at a time, each seed should be planted six inches apart from one another.
As they grow, water your lettuce whenever the soil feels dry. This will keep them nice and hydrated!
You certainly don’t want to overwater your lettuce, but if the plants get too dry, the lettuce’s growth can become stunted, and it could become bitter tasting.
Once planted, your seeds will likely start sprouting in five to eight days.
Harvesting Loose Leaf Lettuce
The great thing about loose leaf lettuce is that you don’t have to pick every single leaf of lettuce all at once. In fact, if you only pick some of the leaves each time you harvest, they may grow back!
Doing this more than three times may start affecting the tenderness of the leaves, though, so keep a tally of how many times you’ve picked your lettuce leaf by leaf.
You can start harvesting leaves on the outermost layer of the lettuce when those outer leaves are two to three inches tall.
The inner leaves may not yet be mature at this point, so may want to leave them alone for a little while longer.
To harvest the outer row of the lettuce, all you have to do is gently pull on or cut off the desired leaves.
If you do want to harvest the entire bunch of lettuce, you can pull it directly out of the ground. Just use both of your hands, gather all the leaves, and give them a firm yank.
How to Store Loose Leaf Lettuce
Prepping your lettuce for storage and then storing it is a quick and easy process!
If you decide to give your lettuce a rinse before storing it, make sure to dry it off completely.
After drying it, you can store your loose leaf lettuce in a salad spinner, bowl or similar container. Place it in the fridge, and then you’ll be ready to go the next time you need some fresh lettuce for a salad or sandwich.
Where to Buy Loose Leaf Lettuce Seeds
There are lots of different loose leaf lettuce varieties available both online and in person at garden supply stores!
True Leaf Market has a wide selection of loose leaf lettuce seeds on their website. Check them out now.
Learning to Grow Loose Leaf Lettuce
Because it tastes delicious, is easy to plant, and grows back so quickly, loose leaf lettuce is a great solution the next time you’re looking to add something new to your garden. Give it a try next season and see how much you love it!
If you liked this post and are interested in learning about other categories of lettuce, check out our Lettuce Plants page!