Growing Iceberg Lettuce: How Does Iceberg Lettuce Grow?
It is a type of lettuce which looks like cabbage as it has a spherical head. It has crisp leaves, and that is why it is also called crisphead lettuce.
This plant has green leaves at the sides and yellowish at the center of the head. Also, the leaves at this part are considered as the sweetest.
Iceberg lettuce which is mature is about one foot in diameter.
It is known for its firm and mild flavor along with crunchy texture, therefore salad made from this leafy vegetables the perfect appetizer.
Growing lettuce has some procedures which are needed to be followed. Iceberg lettuce is simple to grow if you keep the seedlings indoors for the first few months.
Growing Iceberg Lettuce includes following steps
- It is good to do the seed plantation 7-8 weeks before the last spring frost. Extreme temperatures during this time neither early winters nor early summers are suitable for planting seeds.
- These seeds are small, and therefore a well-tilled seedbed is required.
- Plant these seeds in a shallow seed tray and fill the bottom of it with potting soil before sprinkling the seeds. Also, cover the seeds with another layer of potting soil.
- Keep this tray in a sunny indoor area like close to a window where it can get proper sunlight.
- Check and water the seeds according to the requirement. In a week or two lettuce will begin to sprout.
- You can use scissors to cut the sprouts to ensure that there is one sprout per cell of the tray. Cut off the extra sprouts once all seeds have sprouted and made them to soil’s surface level.
- Leave the lettuce plants to grow for six weeks till they become large and can be transplanted outside.
Transplanting the lettuce outside
- Gradually and slowly acclimate the outer environment. After those six weeks start setting the tray out for 3 hours a day in a sheltered area.
- For every next day, keep the tray outside for an additional two hours than the previous day, and it will be acclimated when they are kept out for a whole day.
- This takes around a week. Keeping the lettuce out at night until they are fully acclimated unadvisable. If it is adequately adapted, ted then it will be able to resist at cooler temperatures.
- For seedling, you have to dig 5-inch holes in your garden. Make sure that each of the holes are 10 inches apart from one another. The patch should not be more extensive than 20 inches.
- Now, plant the lettuce in the garden along with fertile soil in a manner that it gets proper sunlight.
- Don’t forget to add a tbsp of 5-10-10 fertilizer into each hole; this fertilizer is a rich source of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium.
- To avoid the soil from crumbling, water the seed tray and do not transfer the seedlings when they are dry.
- Before transferring the lettuce seeds take off the outer leaves of the seedlings to make the plants lighter.
- Then put the sprouts at the center of plants which will form lettuce heads in the future.
- Take the seedlings and plant them into the holes keeping the exact depth that they were in the tray. After filling the gaps with soil, pack the base of plants with soil.
- Water them daily for the first three days after the transplant.
Looking after the lettuce
- It is preferred to water the soil for 3-4 times a day to keep the ground moist. In situations of rains, you do not have to water this much.
- This moistness is maintained so that the lettuce doesn’t get dried which could make it taste bitter. The surface of the soil should be moist in if it is not then it needs to be watered or not.
- Also look at the leaves, if they are wilting then sprinkle them anytime. Slow down the transpiration rate to cool them off in hot temperatures.
- You should avoid too much watering and watering the lettuce in the evening.
- Surround the lettuce soil with a layer of 2-3 inch organic mulch to protect the lettuce from the heat and keep it fresh. You can use chopped leaves or compost as the mulch.
- Do you remember the 5-10-10 fertilizer?
- In every 3-4 weeks apply a 5-10-10 fertilizer to the lettuce.
- You can use an organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion or cottonseed meal, or you can buy fertilizer from a local gardening center.
- You may also consider the fertilizers which are suitable for outside vegetables like chemical fertilizer, a spray fertilizer or a granular.
- For harvesting, the head cut the lettuce soil line.
- When it is full grown of about 6 inches in diameter, take a clue that it is ready to harvest.
- Now, for 5-10 days store the leaves in the refrigerator. Also, for the lettuce, do not take too long to harvest it or else it could taste bitter.
- The harvesting should be done before the temperature rises too high above 27 degree Celsius as lettuce doesn’t survive in hot temperatures.
- Avoid storing the lettuce with fruits like banana, apples, and pears as they tend to release a natural ripening agent that may cause brown spots, and the leaves will decay faster.
This leafy vegetable is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, calcium, and iron. It has few calories regarding weight as it contains high water content. Even though some people believe that iceberg lettuce doesn’t provide much of nutritional values, but you see it’s not true.
It can be used in a variety of dishes-
- It can be used up to make salads like a classic wedge salad with blue cheese dressing and bacon for delicious taste.
- Also, it can be used in making wraps and served as an appetizer, or snack for a party.
- Could be used to fill the tasty fillings from sauteed pork, shrimp or chicken as a vessel.
- You can also try the Stir-frying iceberg lettuce for a Chinese side dish.
It is easy to plant iceberg lettuce, but it needs all the care like other plants. Growing this plant in your backyard is an excellent way to serve healthy and tasty salads and other dishes on your plate.