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Harvesting Lettuce Leaves: Grow Timing And Procedure

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Harvesting Lettuce Leaves

How do you harvest lettuce leaves correctly? When is the right time to harvest lettuce? We answer your questions. Cut and pick lettuce ( Lactuca sativa var. Crispa ) provides fresh, crunchy lettuce leaves throughout the growing season. They are not only suitable for growing in the garden – but lettuce can also be easily grown in pots on the balcony or terrace. If you have the right harvesting technology, you have a seemingly endless supply of lettuce from your own cultivation. In this article, we will tell you everything about the right harvest time, the best procedure for harvesting lettuce, and tips on correct storage.

What is cut and picked lettuce?

Sliced and plucked lettuce does not belong to a certain type of plant, but a wide variety of lettuce forms can be cultivated as plucked or sliced lettuce. Popular are, for example, Lollosalat (Lactuca sativa var. Crispa), Batavia lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. Capitata), or oak leaf lettuce (lactus Sativa var. Crispa). But also Swiss chard ( Beta vulgaris subsp. Vulgaris ) or spinach ( Spinacia oleracea ) are used as a cut and plucked lettuce. The most important thing is how the lettuce is harvested: With lettuce, you do not harvest the entire heads of the plant, but only individual leaves.

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This means that you can only harvest as much lettuce as you need at the moment. Nothing goes bad and you always have fresh salad in the house. Another advantage is that cut and picked lettuce grows back again and again and produces new lettuce leaves for you over several weeks. However, this only works if you handle the harvest correctly. If you cut or pick the lettuce incorrectly, you will not be able to harvest for weeks.

The right time to harvest lettuce

You can harvest the first leaves of your pick or cut lettuce just six to seven weeks after sowing. The leaves should only be big enough. As a rule of thumb, if the leaves are over ten to twelve centimeters long, they can be harvested. If you want, you can harvest your lettuce daily. Harvest as much as you need and only as much as you can directly process. It is best to harvest immediately before consumption because then the salad is uniquely fresh and crisp. Proceed correctly with the harvest, give your pick or cut lettuce for a whole four to six weeks with delicious, ever-growing lettuce leaves.cut-plant-lettuce-harvest-time-and-procedure

When the leaves are 10-12 cm long, they’re ready to be harvested

Expert tip: When the lettuce starts to shoot, i.e. inflorescences form, the leaves become very bitter and no longer edible. If this happens to you, it is advisable to cut off the entire lettuce plant.

When is the right time to harvest lettuce?

  • 6 – 7 weeks after sowing
  • When the first leaves are 10-12 cm long
  • Harvest as needed
  • If possible, harvest immediately before consumption
  • Harvest time can be 4 – 6 weeks

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This is how you go about harvesting lettuce

As the name suggests, lettuce is not cut, but picked by hand. To do this, select the outermost and largest leaves of your lettuce plants and always harvest from the outside in on the plant. You can now easily pick the selected leaves just above the ground by hand. It is important that the lettuce heart in the middle remains undamaged and is left standing. The leaves will continue to grow and you can gradually harvest the lettuce again.

How is lettuce harvested?

  • Harvest the largest, outer leaves
  • Harvest from the outside in
  • Simply pick the leaves off by hand
  • Let the lettuce heart stand

This is how you go about harvesting lettuce

Not only individual leaves but all of the lettuce leaves above the small heart leaves are cut off from the cut salad. Use a knife that is as sharp and clean as possible. In the middle of the plant, there are tiny heart leaves – these must remain undamaged and be left standing because new lettuce leaves form from them. Therefore, cut off the entire lettuce plant above the heart leaves. The lettuce then sprouts again and can be harvested again up to three times.cut-plant-lettuce-harvest-time-and-procedure-2

The lettuce should be harvested with a sharp knife

How is lettuce harvested?

  • Salad is harvested whole
  • Use a sharp and clean knife
  • Cut off the entire plant above the small heart leaves
  • Salad then sprouts again
  • Can be harvested up to three times

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Store lettuce correctly

The good thing about pick lettuce is that it can always be picked fresh. The disadvantage, however, is that it cannot actually be stored. You should therefore always process your pick or cut lettuce as fresh as possible and immediately after harvesting. The only harvest as many lettuces leaves as you can use. Then you do not even come into the situation of having to store it. If this cannot be avoided, the best way to do this is to wrap the lettuce in a damp tea towel and store it in the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator. This way the salad can be kept fresh until the next day. But then you should use it at the latest.

How to store lettuce?

  • The process as fresh as possible
  • Harvest only as much as you use
  • Wrap in a damp kitchen towel to store
  • Store in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator
Tip: Wilted lettuce leaves become crisp again after a 15-minute bath in cool water.
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