How To Harvest Romaine Lettuce

How To Harvest Romaine Lettuce [A Quick And Easy Guide 2022]

Do you want to know How To Harvest Romaine Lettuce? Here is a quick and easy guide to harvest it the RIGHT way!

Romaine lettuce also known as Lactuca Sativa has a tall head with elongated, dark leaves. It is believed to have originated from the Greek island of Kos and unlike most other varieties of lettuce, it is tolerant towards heat.

There are believed to be several health benefits associated with eating romaine lettuce. Whilst it may be low in fiber, it contains a lot of minerals and is a great source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins. 

This variety of lettuce is considered to be one of the easiest to grow in a home garden, however, if you are growing romaine lettuce for the first time, you may have questions regarding when and how it should be harvested. We have provided you with all of the answers in our guide below. 

The time and method that you use to harvest your lettuce can affect its quality as there is a risk of it getting too ripe or losing the crispy texture that it is known for. When harvested correctly, romaine lettuce is suitable to eat straight from your garden. 

You can harvest romaine lettuce in one of two ways. The first method involves removing the entire head of lettuce, whilst the second involves removing the outer leaves, but leaving the inner ones where they are so that they can continue to grow. 

Identifying The Maturity Date For Your Romaine Lettuce

A maturity date is used to calculate the period of time from when the seed is sown to when the plant vegetable is expected to flower. For romaine lettuce, the maturity period is typically between 55 to 65 days.

It is worth noting that growing conditions can affect the maturity date so it isn’t recommended that you rely entirely on the calendar to tell you when your lettuce needs to be harvested. The packaging that your seeds came in is likely to state an estimated maturity date. 

How To harvest The Full Romaine Lettuce Head

As we have mentioned, your lettuce can be harvested in two ways. Harvesting a full romaine lettuce head is a process that requires a considerable amount of patience on your part.

However, it is the best option for those who are planning on making a large salad as you will be able to enjoy plenty of fresh lettuce. 

You will typically find that romaine lettuce heads are ready to harvest, around 60 to 75 days after the seeds have been planted. They usually take around three months to reach full maturity. 

Now you may be wondering how you can identify mature lettuce. The maturity of romaine lettuce can be seen in visual changes to its appearance. The leaves will be a dark green color and they will have started to open. 

For the next step, you are going to require the use of sharp gardening shears. Cut the base of the lettuce approximately 1 inch above the soil. Try to avoid coming into contact with any soil or rocks as there is a risk of them damaging your shears.

If you leave some stem in the ground, there is a chance that some more leaves will sprout ready for the second harvest. They will then be ready to harvest 55 to 60 days after your second harvest.

It is worth noting that your second harvest from these roots is not going to look the same as the first. The lettuce leaves will take on a loose look rather than forming the shape of a head. 

Whilst it is possible to pull the lettuce plant directly from the ground before trimming the roots, there is a risk that the structure of the surrounding soil may get damaged during the process. You may also disrupt the growth of the other lettuces that are close to the ones that you are harvesting.

Pulling the entire romaine lettuce head out of the ground is recommended for those who do not want to have a second harvest. Whilst you will need to be firm, for the reasons we have mentioned above, you will still need to be careful. 

After harvesting your lettuce, you can bring it indoors and wash it before breaking each leaf away from the head. If you do not remove the leaves but instead choose to leave the lettuce intact, it can last for between one and three weeks. 

Note– If you want to make your green fingers happier and your life easier, you can use this affordable 83 piece ultimate gardening set to help you garden like a pro!

How To Harvest The Outer Leaves Of A Romaine Lettuce

If you do not want to harvest the entire lettuce, you can harvest the outer leaves instead. It is recommended that you pick the leaves in the morning as this is when it is going to be the freshest and they are not going to be wilted or dried out from exposure to the sun. 

Mature romaine lettuce can have leaves that are up to 8” tall. You can harvest romaine lettuce leaves at any point so long as they are a few inches tall. You can either pick the leaves by hand or you can use some scissors.

Picking individual leaves is recommended for those who want to keep their plant growing because the central stem is going to remain intact. 

Firmly grasp the base of the lettuce leaf before twisting it sharply. You should then feel the stem snap away from the base of the lettuce. Do not try to pull the leaves upwards because there is a chance that you may pull the entire plant out of the soil. 

Once you have picked the leaves you can wash them to remove any dirt. They can then be stored inside your refrigerator where they are expected to last for several days before starting to wilt. 

By picking individual leaves you will get more harvests from your plant. In fact, if you select the most mature leaves each time you go to pick them, you are likely to get around 3 to 4 harvests from your lettuce.

It is worth noting that your first harvest is going to be the biggest as each harvest will get smaller. 

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