Crisphead or Iceberg Lettuce
Planting, Growing, and Harvesting
Crisphead or Iceberg Lettuce
You’ll find everything you need to know to plant and grow crisphead or iceberg lettuce in the accompanying table’s tabs:
- How many crisphead or iceberg lettuce plants to grow
- Growing conditions for crisphead or iceberg lettuce
- When to plant crisphead or iceberg lettuce
- How to plant crisphead or iceberg lettuce
- Watering, fertilizing, and pruning crisphead or iceberg lettuce
- Companion plantings for crisphead or iceberg lettuce
- How to harvest, store, and use crisphead or iceberg lettuce
Growing Crisphead or Iceberg Lettuce
Crisphead and Iceberg (the most popular crisphead cultivar) are leafy green, head-forming, cool-season vegetables. With their firm, compact heads of pale green, crisp leaves on a basal rosette of open leaves, the tight, perfect spheres of crisphead are both the most frequently grown and the most challenging lettuce to grow.
Fortunately, the flavor and texture of open-leaved crispheads are every bit as tasty as their idealized sisters. Their unique character is featured in the popular but simple wedge salad, a quartered head of Iceberg topped with a tangy dressing and optional bacon bits.
Crisphead Lettuce Plant and Care Guide
How Much to Plant
Allow 6–10 heads per household member, yielding 6–10 lbs. (2.8–4.5 kg).
How to Plant
Seed germinates in 7–10 days.
Average Climates: Sow seed in full–partial sun in early spring when soil warms to 40–75°F (4–24°C), or in late summer.
Mild-Winter Climates: Sow seed in autumn.
Autumn–Winter Gardens: Sow seed from May–October or transplants from June–October for harvest in autumn–winter.
Sow seed 1/4-in. (6-mm) deep, 1–2 in. (25–50 mm) apart, thinning to 1 ft. (30 cm) apart, in rows 16–24 in. (40–60 cm) apart, or broadcast over an area and thin to 1 ft. (30 cm) apart.
Install floating row covers after planting to limit access by pests.
Best Conditions for Growth
Growing temperature: 45–75°F (7–24°C). Protect plants from temperatures below 40°F (4°C). Shade plants from full sunlight at temperatures above 85°F (29°C). Best in mild-summer climates.
Soil Type and Fertility
Moist, well-drained, sandy soil. Fertility: Rich. 6.0–6.8 pH. Prepare soil at least 1 ft. (30 cm) deep.
Moderate. Keep evenly moist; avoid wetting foliage. Apply ample water during the head-development stage. Fertilize only at planting with 5–10–10 formula. Mulch. Cultivate. Chewing insect, slug, snail and downy mildew susceptible.
Autumn–Winter Gardens: Protect from frost and freezes beginning in October.
Carrots, cucumbers, radishes, and strawberries.
Maturity, Picking and Gathering
80–90 days. Cut when heads are tight and turn yellowish green. Cut heads from the stem 1 in. (25 mm) above the soil, removing any loose outer leaves, leaving the central growth bud to sprout additional leaves.
How to Store and Preserve
Fresh in vegetable keeper of refrigerator for 2–3 weeks; discard the outer leaves, then rinse and dry to prevent premature spoilage of the head. Good eaten raw as leafy green in salads; as a garnish for hamburgers, tacos, sandwiches, or wraps; or as an edible wrapper for Asian-style summer rolls; steamed as wrap over ground-meat fillings as for cabbage rolls.