Outstanding winter hardiness
Sow August to October
Harvest March to May following year
Where to Sow
Sow seeds direct into growing site thinly along rows 1.5cm (1/2in) deep, spaced 30cm (12in) apart. Later sowings can be made in a cold frame.
What to do next
Thin seedlings once large enough to handle to 30cm (12in) apart. In colder areas some protection with cloches may be required. Cold frame sowings can be transplanted to the growing site in spring , spaced as above.
Watch out for bird and slug damage in the spring, as young leaves are a tempting meal for wildlife at that time of year.
A good source of antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein and vitamin C as well as vitamin K.
Lettuce seeds can be sown in modules. seed trays or direct into the growing site and thinned to the required spacings as soon as possible. Rows should be about 30cm apart and the seeds sown 1cm deep. Small lettuces can be spaced at 15-20cm distances, whilst large crispheads will need 30-35cm. Regular watering is essential especially the 7-10 days before maturity. Lettuces mature quickly, butterheads at about 10 weeks and crisphead and cos types at around 14 weeks. They will not stand for more than 5-7 days once mature before running to seed, so successful successional sowing or the use of the "cut and come again" types is required. Sowings begin in February under glass at 15°C followed by outdoor sowings under cloches until late autumn. Sowings for overwinter production uses cloches and glasshouse. Germination difficulties may be experienced in July and August as lettuce seed will go into dormancy if sown in very hot weather.