Lettuce can be grown in any home garden. It is a cool-weather
crop, being as sensitive to heat as any vegetable grown. In the
South, lettuce culture is confined to late fall, winter, and
spring. In colder parts of the South, lettuce may not live through
the winter. In the North, lettuce culture is patricianly limited
to spring and autumn. In some favored locations, such as areas of
high altitude or in far-northern latitudes, lettuce grows to
perfection in summer.
Planting at a wrong season is responsible for most of the
failures with this crop. Any rich soil is adapted to lettuce,
although the plant is sensitive to acid soil. A commercial
fertilizer with a heavy proportion of phosphorus is recommended.
Start spring lettuce indoors or in a hotbed and transplant it
to the garden when the plants have four of five leaves. Gardeners
need not wait for the end of light frosts, as lettuce is not
usually harmed by a temperature as low as 28�F., if the plants
have been properly hardened.
Allow about 6 weeks for growing the plants. For the fall crop,
the seed may be sown directly in the row and thinned; there is no
gain in transplanting.
For tractor cultivation, set lettuce plants 12 to 15 inches
apart in rows 30 to 36 inches apart; for hand culture, about 14 to
16 inches apart each way. Where gardeners grow leaf lettuce or
desire merely the leaves and not well developed heads, the spacing
in the rows may be much closer. In any case it is usually best to
cut the entire plant instead of removing the leaves.
There are many excellent varieties of lettuce, all of which do
well in the garden when conditions are right. Where warm weather
comes early, it is seldom worthwhile to sow head lettuce seed in
the open ground in the spring with the expectation of obtaining
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