Today I harvested some more lettuce and got curious about the technique. It turns out that plenty of commercial farms use a blade. This makes things go quicker, and it also reduces the trauma to the plant. Under any normal conditions, a lettuce plant should continue to produce greens– sometimes for up to three rounds including your first harvest! A clean break during harvesting facilitates healthy regrowth. So take the extra effort to be gentle and precise when you tear and/or use a pocket knife to snag leaves. That way, you’ll get much more salad over the course of the season.
Lettuces germinate and grow best during the cool part of the growing season. They can produce from seeds starting at temperatures as cold as 32 Fahrenheit! Optimally, (in terms of maximum production in the least time) lettuce germinates at around 75 Fahrenheit. If it gets much hotter, the productivity declines. Check on all your favorite veggies at this table: http://tomclothier.hort.net/page11.html.
Many of our lettuces must be partial to the cooler temperatures we’ve had this week, and they may be producing less as it gets hotter (and the benefits of the weather shift to accommodate our warm season crops better and better).
~Molly A. H.