Prepare your garden beds or containers with well-drained and nutrient-rich soil that is full of compost or aged manure. Lettuce plants do well in steady amounts of nitrogen, so apply blood meal or compost tea to the soil before planting.
Plant seeds ¼” to ½” deep in your favorite seed starting mix, or directly outside in your prepared beds. Start inside 4-6 weeks before your last frost date in spring, or 4 weeks early before planting out in fall. Try to situate your planting area where your plants will get 4-8 hours of sunlight a day. Heading-type lettuce will need sun closer to the 8 hours and leaf lettuces will do okay with at least 4 hours.
Thin your plants once the seedlings have formed their first real leaves. Thinning is simply removing certain seedlings to allow your plants to spread out. Leaf lettuce seedlings should be 4” apart while heads of lettuce should be 6 -8” apart. If you’re growing organic lettuce heads, such as iceberg, aim for 12-14” apart. Single-leaf lettuce plants should be 4” apart.
Harvest your organic lettuce when the outer leaves are about 6” long. This ensures that the plant will survive after the leaves are removed. You can use your hands to tear off the leaves anywhere on the stalk once the leaves are long enough. Continue to harvest lettuce leaves until you are left with a center stalk. It may take as long as 80 days after planting to harvest. If you’re harvesting heads of lettuce, cut the head 1” away from the soil. A new head should form in its place.
Lettuce, Lactuca sativa
Pollination, self; Life Cycle, annual; Isolation Distance, 20 feet
Lettuce is a great choices for those new to seed saving, because it has a perfect flower and only needs 20 feet between varieties to stay true. Save seeds from several plants of the same variety to ensure diversity. Allow plant to bolt and flower, you will know the seeds are ready to harvest when yellow flowers dry to a white fluff. Let the seed heads dry on the plant if possible, but if it’s too wet you can pull the plant up roots and all and allow to dry upside down in a cool, dry place. Use a small diameter screen to separate seed from chaff, or separate seeds by hand.
Based in Asheville, NC, Sow True Seed has a small, dedicated staff of dirt worshippers committed to providing high quality, open-pollinated seeds in support of sustainable food production and regenerative agriculture. Founded in 2008 by lifelong gardener and food activist Carol Koury, Sow True Seed was created to preserve our shared botanical heritage and grow a new era of ecological wisdom.
Sow True Seed supports independent, regional agricultural initiatives that foster a vibrant, sustainable economy, and true food sovereignty. They are committed to growing our awareness and actions to honor the heritage of their seeds, the diverse people and places that have contributed to our collective abundance.
Based in the glorious mountains of Western North Carolina – home to a temperate rainforest and one of the most biologically diverse areas of North America – Sow True prides themselves on working with farmers in the region who ensure the survival of heirloom varieties that would otherwise become extinct.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires that seed germination rates be tested at least once a year. A “sell by date” is also required on seed packets and cannot date more than a year from the last passing germination test. Sow True Seed tests the germination rates of all seed varieties twice a year via the North Carolina Department of Agriculture to ensure passing germination rates. The sell by date is not a “use by” date; most seed varieties, stored properly, can last up to three years. Sow True Seed stores all seed varieties in a climate controlled facility that averages 50° F and 50% humidity, which are ideal seed storing conditions. For the home gardener the best way to store seeds is in the refrigerator, in a zip top bag or Mason jar, with silica packets to absorb any moisture. We do not recommend storing seeds in the freezer.
We deliver to the Greater Charlotte, NC area.
Please make sure to check that your are in our delivery area prior to ordering this product.