When to Harvest Your Lettuce

Learn when the garden is ready to give you a delicious salad.



6/19/20233 min read

green leaf on brown and black marble surface
green leaf on brown and black marble surface

Let's harvest some salad!

Get ready, gardening friends! Fresh garden salad season is among us!

It's time to talk about one of the most satisfying moments in the world of homegrown greens—the glorious lettuce harvest.

Picture this: the sun shining, the breeze is absolute perfection, and you, with a basket in hand, ready to pluck the freshest, most vibrant lettuce straight from your garden. Are you excited? Because I sure am!

Lettuce, with its crisp texture and refreshing taste, is a staple in many gardens.

My husband actually complimented my garden's lettuce the other day "I didn't know lettuce could have good flavour".

Whether you're growing leaf lettuce, romaine, or butterhead varieties, it's exciting times when we get to harvest from our gardens.

close-up photo of vegetable salad
close-up photo of vegetable salad
a plate of food
a plate of food

Let's dig in and explore when you know it's TIME to harvest a good salad:

Step 1: Timing is Everything To ensure your lettuce is at its peak when you harvest, keep a close eye on its growth. Different lettuce varieties have varying maturity dates, so consult the seed packet or plant label for guidance. Generally, leaf lettuce can be harvested when the leaves are about 4-6 inches long, while romaine and butterhead lettuce are ready when the heads reach a firm and full size.

Step 2: Get Your Tools Ready Before heading out to the garden, gather your harvesting essentials. You'll need a pair of clean, sharp scissors or garden shears, a basket or container to collect the harvested leaves, and a water source nearby to rinse the lettuce.

Step 3: Snip, Snip, Snip! Now comes the fun part—harvesting your lettuce! Start by selecting the outer leaves or whole heads, depending on the type of lettuce you're growing.

For leaf lettuce, simply snip the outer leaves near the base, leaving the inner leaves intact for continued growth. For romaine and butterhead lettuce, use your shears to cut the entire head just above the soil level.

Step 4: Rinse and Refresh After harvesting, it's essential to give your lettuce a good rinse to remove any dirt or debris. Fill a basin or sink with cool water and gently swish the leaves around. Once clean, shake off the excess water or use a salad spinner to dry them before storing or enjoying right away.

Step 5: Store and Savor If you're not devouring your fresh lettuce immediately, it's a good idea to find a good way to store it.

Wrap the leaves in a clean, damp paper towel and place them in a perforated plastic bag or an airtight container in the refrigerator. And if you are looking to reduce your plastics use, then store upright in a mason jar with water.

Stored this way, your lettuce can stay fresh for up to a week, although it's so tempting you may find it disappearing much quicker!

So, go forth and experience the pure delight of harvesting your own lettuce. From garden to plate, the journey is filled with satisfaction and the unbeatable taste of homegrown goodness. Enjoy the fruits of your labor, and may your salads be fresh, vibrant, and utterly scrumptious!

Happy gardening and happy lettuce harvesting!

Links to garden tools on Amazon:

Pruning Snips

ByPass Pruners

Harvest Basket

(Disclaimer: those amazon links are my affiliate links - which means I may earn a commission if you make a purchase at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase)