Published on 08/26/98

'Best' Lettuce Grows Well in Georgia

University of Georgia professor Wayne McLaurin says Georgians can grow all types of lettuces except iceberg. The one exception is OK with him.

"Iceberg isn't the best lettuce when compared to the Bibbs and leaf types, anyway," says McLaurin, an Extension Service horticulturist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

The main thing to remember about growing lettuce, he says, is you can't plant the seed. For outside planting, place the seed on the top of the soil and just barely cover it with a fine artificial soil mix.

When seeding indoors, McLaurin says, use a margarine cup or similar container, fill with a good soil mix, add seed and just water the top. In a fine mix, it will place the seed at the right depth.

Lettuce is one of the few vegetables that will grow in semishade. "Three to four hours of sun is better, but it will tolerate the shade," he says.

Space plants 8 to 9 inches apart, depending on the cultivar. Use fertilizer in moderation with one side-dressing.

The growing season for lettuce varies with the cultivar, too. Most types are ready to harvest in about 40-plus days.

The best thing about lettuce, McLaurin says, is that you can plant every 10 days and have a fresh harvest until frost. If protected, lettuce can grow well into early winter.

Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.