How Anyone Can Grow and Harvest Lettuce (a perfect beginner or container gardening crop!)

This helpful DIY gardening article was originally sponsored by Tasty Bite in 2017. It was last updated in 2023. All writing and opinions are 100% mine.
Black seeded Simpson homegrown organic lettuce grown in the Creative Green Living garden
One of the easiest foods to grow (especially in containers) is LETTUCE!

Lettuce is a great beginner gardening crop. 

The big key to lettuce success is making sure it doesn’t get too hot or get stuck outside in freezing temps. So be sure to follow my tips below for choosing the right timing and location for your lettuce!

You don't need to have a big garden to grow your own salad greens. Almost anyone can grow something right where they are.

Lettuce will happily grow on a porch, balcony, patio or outdoor table in a window box, flower pot or even a big bowl!

Everything You Need to Know to Grow & Harvest Lettuce

How to Pick the Best Spot to Grow Lettuce

Lettuce likes to be kept cool.

Think of lettuce like that one friend you have – you know the one. 

They’ll join you outside for adventures. But only if it isn’t too hot. And there is a shady spot to sit in. And you have enough cool drinks.

Lettuce likes sun. But not too much sun.

An area with morning sun and afternoon shade is perfect. Or maybe in the dappled shadow of other nearby plants so it gets sun but not isn’t being hit full blast on days there aren’t clouds.

While this might make lettuce sound a bit high maintenance, the great thing about lettuce is once you have a nice spot for it, you can kind of ignore it once it’s planted (besides making sure it’s watered of course) and it will make heaps of beautiful lettuce for you until the weather makes it stop.

In your garden

In the garden, lettuce will grow nicely in spots your sun loving tomatoes, peppers and melons can’t so it’s a great way to fill in shady spaces the heat seeking plants won’t like.

You can also companion plant it in the shade of a friend.

One of my favorite gardeners to turn to for advice, Ron Finley, has a nice article on companion plants for lettuce here.

My personal favorite campanion groupings for lettuce are growing cucumber or melon up a trellis and then planting lettuce in the shadow at the base. 

This gives lettuce the break from oppressive mid day sun it needs while helping out your vining friend at the same time.

1) As soon as two weeks before your average last frost date or so, get some damp soil in the ground or a pot. Organic potting soil is great if you don't already have a garden with great soil. Use a small hand rake to fluff the dirt and scratch up the surface
2) Sprinkle lettuce seeds onto the soil about 3 inches apart. Don't go too crazy - if you plant too many you will need to thin them out later.
3) Scratch the dirt back over the seeds so they are covered. Keep the pot in a sunny spot and watch the soil to keep it damp (no need to over water it!)
In a few days, you'll have baby lettuce sprouts! Continue to water the soil as needed to keep it damp like a wrung out sponge (don't over water!).

To Harvest

To harvest, once leaves are about 3" tall, you can pick leaves off the sides of the plants to build a salad as needed or wait until you have one (or more!) big, beautiful heads and cut it off at the base with a sharp knife. Don't forget to wash it well before eating and to donate your extra harvest to your local food bank.

Thank you, Tasty Bite!

A big thanks to Tasty Bite for sponsoring this post! I love supporting brands who are initiating programs like this - especially when the products they sell actually back up their initiative! Tasty Bite products are grown on sustainable farms - not created in labs. My family loves Tasty Bite for an easy meal you can heat up in just one minute that doesn't have GMOs, artificial flavors or weird ingredients - they are the perfect mix of ease and healthy food that tastes good.
Look for the yellow pouch in your local grocery store. Use this locator to find a store near you that carry Tasty Bite's line of Indian, Thai and Asian dishes made with no compromises or artificial anything. Check them out on Facebook and Instagram as well!

About the Author:

Carissa is a green lifestyle advocate and mom of two active boys. The owner and lead writer for Creative Green Living, she is also the author of two e-books including the best-selling beverage cookbook, Infused: Recipes for Herb & Fruit Infused Water, Tea and More as well as the NEW hardcover cookbook, Beautiful Smoothie Bowls (Skyhorse, 2017). Her goal is to empower families to make easy projects and healthier choices that are beautiful and delicious! Follow her on PinterestInstagramTwitter or join the Creative Green Living community group.
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Sponsored post disclosure: This post was sponsored by Tasty Bite together with IZEA. All opinions expressed are 100% mine and reflect my authentic experience with this brand. I only recommend products I personally enjoy and think my readers will as well. For more information, see my full sponsored post and review policy.
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1 comment

  1. I love to have all kinds of colors in my salad bowl. I have had red lettuce and like it - it’s just as easy to grow as green lettuce. I hope you try it!


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