How to Keep Lettuce Growing All Summer

(+ Best Heat-Tolerant Varieties)

Whose idea was it to give us loads of sweet juicy tomatoes and cucumbers in summer, but none of the tender leafy greens we love to eat them with?

As any gardener knows, it can be a struggle to keep lettuce going through summer without bolting, but there's hope!

You can keep lettuce going all summer long with a few simple tricks up your sleeve. 

Grow loose-leaf varieties.


In general, loose-leaf lettuces are more heat-resistant and slower to bolt than lettuce varieties that form heads. I encourage you to try a butterhead lettuce first, followed by any type of green leaf, red leaf, or batavia lettuce.

Sow seeds at the right time.


Lettuce seeds become dormant when soil temperatures rise above 80°F (a condition called thermo-inhibition), which means they won’t germinate when it’s hot outside.

Use transplants or start seeds indoors.


Whether you buy transplants or start them from seed indoors, make sure the seedlings are hardened off properly before planting them outside.

Succession plant your lettuce for a continuous crop.


This will ensure a steady harvest all season long—as one group of plants starts to fade, another group can take its place.

Don’t skimp on water.


Lettuce has shallow roots, so compared to other summer crops (like deep-rooted tomatoes), it needs more frequent watering (but in shorter bursts) when the days are long and hot.

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