Growing Romaine Lettuce: A guide from seed to harvest

Lettuce is among the most common vegetables to consume. Hence, you don’t have to think twice before growing lettuce at home. At the time of growing lettuce at home, you will also figure out that there are few different options available to consider. Romaine Lettuce holds a prominent place out of them. Crisp and thick leaves are the main reasons behind the popularity of Romaine Lettuce. The unique texture of Romaine Lettuce delivers a creamy salad dressing to you. It will not be possible for you to get that experience out of any other leafy green you can discover out there for purchase.

Growing Romaine Lettuce

What exactly is Romaine Lettuce?

Romaine Lettuce, which is also known as Cos Lettuce, is a unique variant of lettuce. They don’t have a bulbous and round head. Instead, they have upright heads, along with elongated and sturdy leaves. You can also find densely packed thick midribs in them as well. Can consider it as the most popular lettuce among numerous restaurants and households.

You can easily proceed with growing Romaine Lettuce at home. You can then get softer leaves, which you can add into numerous dishes. Since Romaine Lettuce is highly resistant to snail and slug damage, the process of growing them will not be a challenging one. The heads of these plants grow upright and narrow. Therefore, it will be possible for you to fit more plants within a given area as well.

Once you start growing Romaine Lettuce, you can also remain cleaner. That’s because Romaine Lettuce tends to stay closer to the surface of soil. Then it rains, grit and dirt would not splash onto the leaves. Hence, you will not have to worry too much about the cleanliness of leaves as you prepare them. You can also make sure that a lot of grit and dirt is not entering into the folds that you can see in the lettuce head as well. Hence, you can easily prepare delicious meals at home.

How to grow Romaine Lettuce

There are three main methods available for you to follow when you grow Romaine Lettuce. Let’s deep dive and explore more details about those three methods. Then you can figure out the best method and proceed with planting them.

Method 1 – Planting the seeds indoors

You will be able to plant the seeds indoors and proceed with growing Romaine Lettuce. This is where grow lights can help you. You will need to plant them in around March and sow after a period of around 10 to 12 weeks. One of the best things about Romaine Lettuce plants is that they are resistant to cold weathers. Therefore, you will even be able to plant the seeds during late February. This will help you to harvest Romaine Lettuce leaves in the month of May, before the warm weather season starts.

When you are growing Romaine Lettuce, you will need to keep the grow lights on for a period of around 14 to 16 hours. These lights should be placed a couple of inches from the top of the plants. You will also need to water the seedlings regularly and add fertilizer every after week. You may think about using an organic fertilizer for this. Moreover, you need to allow enough space for the plants to grow. If you notice that there isn’t enough space, you can plant them in bigger containers.

One of the most important things you need to be mindful in here is to harden off all the seedlings before you proceed with planting them. Then you can make sure that all Romaine Lettuce plants get used to outdoor environmental conditions. You may think about taking out the trays outdoors and keeping them under sunlight for a couple of hours a day. Then you can continue to increase the number of hours that you keep them outdoors. When the plants are ready to be transplanted outdoors, they will be receiving around 10 to 12 hours of sunlight per day.

Method 2 – Planting from transplants

If you are a beginner gardener, you may think about planting Romaine Lettuce from transplants. Then you will be able to overcome the nervous stage. You can even grow multiple plants; you can save time and effort when you proceed with this method. This is where you will be purchasing few plants from a nursery and plant them in your garden.

Method 3 – Planting Romaine Lettuce seeds outdoors

The final option would be to plant Romaine Lettuce seeds outdoors. When you purchase Romaine Lettuce seeds, you will notice that they are quite small. However, there is no need to worry because these seeds are quite tough. Hence, you can proceed with planting them outdoors directly. They prefer to grow in a wet ground. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about fussing, as the plants are foolproof.

You can sow your Romaine Lettuce seeds at a distance of around half inch from each. You should cover up the seeds with soil barely after planting them. Then you can add water to the garden. You should also be careful not to add too much of water as the seeds will get washed away. In case if you re living in a warm weather environment, you should think about planting Romaine Lettuce seeds in winter months. That’s because the Romaine Lettuce plants prefer to grow in a cooler environment than hot summer months.

Once you notice that the seedlings are around one inch in height, you can thin the garden and transplant them at a distance of around six inches apart. You will also be able to transplant all the culled seedlings to a newer location within your garden. However, you should be careful to leave behind enough space in between. In case if you don’t thin out the plants, they will not be able to create full-sized heads. Hence, it is essential to thin out the plants.

How to take care of Romaine Lettuce plants?

Now you know how to grow Romaine Lettuce. The next step is to figure out how to take good care of them. One of the most important things you should do in here would be to amend the soil. You can think about using compost to do it. It is better if you can take compost from the home compost bin. In case if you don’t have a one, you can simply buy them from a local garden center.

You should also continue to feed your Romaine Lettuce every other week. This is where we encourage you to use a liquid organic fertilizer.

Even though Romaine Lettuce plants are resistant to snails and slugs, you should never ignore the risk. This is why we encourage you to think about using iron phosphate slug bait around the plants. Then you will be able to keep snails and slugs away from eating your plants.

How to harvest Romaine Lettuce?

You can harvest Romaine Lettuce plants with full heads or baby greens. If you are harvesting baby greens, you should cut or pinch them from the plant when the leaves are about 30 days young. However, you should keep the plant intact to support continuous growth. This will help you to harvest the same plant multiple times. Or else, you can simply wait until the head reaches its maximum size. This is where you can get the help of a sharp knife and cut of the base of the plant.

Since Romaine Lettuce plants are heat tolerant, you will need to think about harvesting them before the hot summer months. Otherwise, you will have to experience a bitter taste out of the leaves. If you are looking forward to extending the harvesting season, you should think about covering them up with a floating row cover.

Final words

Now you know how to grow Romaine Lettuce plants. These plants are quite easy to grow within a pot. However, you should be careful to use the best quality potting soil and appropriate steps as we discussed about. If you can adhere to all these steps, you can easily enjoy Romaine Lettuce grown at the comfort of your home.

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