How to Harvest Lettuce Seeds
Have you ever wondered how to grow lettuce? It's a big deal, especially when you have more than one variety. There are several different varieties of lettuce, with a wide range of colors and taste as well. Some varieties need more water than others, some require a lot more fertilizer, and others do not do so well in extreme temperatures or with pest infestations. Here are some guidelines and pointers on how to best go about growing your preferred types of lettuce.
When choosing what variety of lettuce seeds to use, be sure you pick the kind you prefer to eat. Most varieties are more bitter tasting than others, and some are more challenging to harvest. Some varieties will save you money by being more seasonal, saving you from buying new bags of lettuce every year. There are even loose-leaf lettuce seeds which never need replanting, although there are head lettuce seeds which take you back to square one every year after you trim it back.
For variety, buy at least four different colors. These can be used to alternate with each other in your garden. Buy a mix of a few late summer and early fall crops as well so that you can practice planting and harvesting at different times. Although lettuce does better in medium temperatures, you don't want to plant it when it's a cold day outside. Keep it safe from freezing in the winter by placing them in a pot on top of your drip tray. Late summer and early fall crops should be packed away in boxes for the winter.
In early spring, you'll want to harvest your seeds before the weather gets too hot. If you have an overabundance of greens, the plants will grow up and die, taking the valuable nutrients with them. To prevent this, set aside some of the green matter on a daily basis like onions, carrots and beans before you go out into your garden to harvest. The best way to do this is to simply leave a container of these things in your kitchen cabinets until you need them for cooking - a week or so before you plan to use them.
Once you've gathered up your lettuce seeds and removed any excess dirt, place them in a small paper bag and put them in a storage box. Seal the bag tightly and put it in a dark cupboard. Every few days, take the paper bag out and add a fresh handful of leaves (about four to six flower heads). Continue this routine until you've got about a month's worth of salad in your garden.
When spring comes, it's time to get your head on and start harvesting those leaves. Take the chaff directly from the flower head and allow the seeds to dry out. Harvest the chaff as necessary and add them to your salads. If you want to have a more varied taste in your salads, you can mix chaff with shredded lettuce and spinach. Store the dried chaff in air-tight containers. Set aside a few weeks before you plant your own seeds.
During late summer, you're going to want to get your Lettuce seeds prepared and start sowing. After a rain or two, move the chaff from one location to another. Keep an eye on the weather and make sure the area is getting enough sun to encourage germination. Some people even recommend placing the chaff leaves on trays of rocks to keep them off the ground during harvesting.
When fall comes around, it's time to harvest your Lettuce seeds. Sow your seeds and look like a yard full of green, beautiful leaves. As the weather starts to warm up, you can cover the seeds with mulch and store them for next year. When spring comes, you'll be able to enjoy those delicious looking Lettuce leaves.