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How to cut lettuce from garden?

Apologies all... My last post was about lettuce too... 

*Disclaimer* Newbie to the "grow your own" community

Pretty much the title of the post...

I cut some of my lettuce yesterday after watching a few YouTube vids, most of which said about cutting the leaves around the edges. However, while it has worked fine for one of the varieties, the other looks nothing like how it did on the videos post-cutting and instead has a long "stalk" remaining (see pic)? Meaning I think I have cut this one wrong? 

I think it's baby gem lettuce? How should I cut this because I really enjoyed it with dinner and would hate to be cutting it in a way that it won't grow back.


  • strelitzia32strelitzia32 Posts: 723
    What you're looking for is called "cut and come again". Essentially you harvest some leaves are the edge, leaving new leaves to grow and allowing you to harvest them later.

    Some varieties of lettuce are more suited to this than others! The lettuce you're growing there is a cos type. Generally that's better harvested as a head - when it gets to sufficient size with a tight head, cut the plant at ground level for a single lettuce (and pull up the remaining stem and root).

    There's nothing stopping you taking leaves from cos like you've done - it will just keep stretching up and growing in the way it has for you in the photo. It might look a bit odd, and the plant will get successively taller until it bolts, but if you are happy with individual leaves rather than a head of cos then it works for you and you haven't done anything wrong!

    Varieties like salad bowl are more suited to harvesting individual leaves though.

    Best thing with cos lettuce is to succession sow. I generally sow into module trays, about 12 at a time, every 2 or 3 weeks. Leave the modules outside to germinate and grow, because cos down in a greenhouse will be weak and floppy when you try to plant it out. I plant out when they are an inch or so high, but you might want to leave it longer due to slugs. Lettuce is pretty tough, and seed is cheap, so no issues sowing more than you think you'll need! 
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 3,224
    I'm on my third sowing of little gem lettuce and like yours I pick the outer leaves which leaves a bare stem. If you want heads of lettuce don't pick the side leaves and allow it to bulk up then cut the whole plant off. Its a nice lettuce to grow because it gives you the option to do both ways, and is pretty bullet proof.😁
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,156
    As the others have said - you can either leave a plant to become full sized, or you can 'cut and come again', and often it's ideal to have both, so you would sow seed at intervals. 
    I tend to do that - I have several pots at different stages, and I take a bunch of leaves a  few times from one, which means the others can grow on. As that ones is used up, I move on to the next pot , and so on. By the time I've used the third one, the first one is often regrowing, especially if it's been quite wet. I also leave a couple to grow fully. 
    One thing to bear in mind is that lettuce will often bolt in hot, sunny conditions, so a cooler spot is best for most of them.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 9,782
    As others have said, you're doing nothing wrong and it is just the cos type that will do that if harvested that way.  I also sow small batches of cos/iceberg types every 2-3 weeks to obtain full crispy heads, but many 'cut & come again' lettuce mixes do have some cos types included. :)
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
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