Learn how to grow lettuce in Houston.
The lettuces are easy to grow: they sprout fast, do not require much space, and can be cultivated in pots.
The lettuce seeds are tiny, and I recommend planting a small space (a square foot) with lots of seeds, broadcast, and when the seedlings are 3″ tall, separate them and transplant them to their final place. Transplant every 4-5 days, so the plants are ready to harvest in a staggered way, and you have fresh lettuce to eat for several weeks.
Here, in Houston, lettuces are a whole winter crop. When the temperatures rise to over 86F, the lettuces become bitter.
Choose the variety you like the most and try your hand. My favorite is romaine lettuce. This seed from Johnny’s is heat tolerant. So if planting in the spring, they would be my choice. You can start the season in October and usually keep harvesting into April.
As always, prepare the soil with organic fertilizer and compost and keep the ground moist until the seedlings are about 2″ high, then water every other day. Watering must retain consistently. Lettuce becomes bitter if stressed.
It is often not advisable to wait for the lettuce to form a heart. I usually harvest them when they look like in the picture. You pull the whole plant and cut it at the base between the leaves and the roots. Some varieties never form a heart. You need to check for each variety. If you like baby greens, instead of harvesting all the lettuce plants, you can cut the outer leaves, let them grow new, and keep harvesting.
When the lettuce blooms, its time has passed. Pull them up and sow something new, or leave the flowers to be enjoyed by the pollinators.
Visit our collection of articles on how to grow vegetables in Houston and How to start seedlings.