Garden Plant Guides

Tower Garden Grow Guide: How to Grow Lettuce

Go from seed to lush, green, and crisp lettuce in as little as three weeks.
GROWING INFORMATION
Lettuce
DIFFICULTY
1 out of 5 leaves
TIME TO HARVEST
2-3 weeks
INDOOR VS OUTDOOR
Both
BEST TOWER POSITION
Anywhere (if growing larger fruiting/vining plants position lettuce above them)

Why We Love Lettuce

Whether it’s on a sandwich or in a salad, the refreshing crunch of lettuce is unmistakable. Packed with vitamins A, K and other nutrients, lettuce is one of the most popular greens to grow on Tower Garden because it’s healthy, easy to grow, and can be harvested in as little as three weeks. Not only that, but the impressive green leaves on certain lettuce varieties make any Tower Garden stand out and pop with color. 

Download the Lettuce Grow Guide PDF.

Varieties

Leaf Lettuce

  • Romaine -  Thicker-leaf lettuce with crisp, sweet, juicy leaves. Plant it in the spring.
  • Vulcan - Variegated red and green coloring with slightly frilly leaves. A vigorous grower, Vulcan lettuce can be planted early in the season.
  • Lolla Rosa - Comes in red and green and presents a spicy, slightly bitter taste.
  • Tango - Dark green, extremely frilly leaves and a mild taste. Harvest early, as Tango lettuce bolts quickly.

Head Lettuce 

  • Iceberg - The classic iceberg lettuce has a crisp texture and a neutral flavor. It grows to form a very dense thick head and prefers cooler temperatures.
  • Buttercrunch (red or green) -  Buttercrunch lettuce forms compact heads of mildly flavored leaves. It’s heat-tolerant and slow to bolt.
  • Bibb - Large outer ruffled leaves surrounding a soft, folded blanched heart. Heat-tolerant of the three and can be used in the mid-summer.
  • Summer Crisp -  Very crisp, like Romaine, but sweeter. Easy to grow and certain varieties can tolerate hotter weather.

Planting Your Seedlings

What You’ll Need

  • Tower Garden Growing System
  • Seedling Starter Kit (If starting with seeds)
  • Lettuce seeds/seedlings (included in Seedling Starter Kit)
  • Net pots or Growing Clips 
  • LED Indoor Grow Lights (for indoor growing)
  • Access to power source

View more information on starting your seeds.

  1. Germinate your seeds. This step will take roughly 7-14 days. Lettuce seeds should be ready for transplant 10–14 days after sprouting, or whenever they have at least 2–3 leaves and a visible root structure.
  2. Place one seedling cube into each net pot or growing clip on your Tower Garden Growing System. 
  3. Gently press the seedling cube until it touches the base of the net pot or growing clip.

Growing Conditions

Temperature:  45–80˚F

Light exposure and watering cycle can be controlled by our digital timer, but for manual reference:

Light

For outdoor – minimum 6-8 hours of full sunlight daily

For indoor – set grow light timer for 14-16 hours on, 8-10 hours off

Watering Cycle

Please set the Tower timer to “O” for outdoor growing or “I” for indoor growing.

Maintenance & Pest Prevention 

  • Check water and pH levels at least weekly.
  • Keep roots away from pump.
  • If not in full sun when outdoors, rotate garden regularly for even growing.
  • Clean pump monthly.
  • Check regularly for pests.
  • Remove dead plant debris.
  • Destroy diseased plant material.

More information on Tower Garden maintenance is here, as well as extra help for pests and troubleshooting.

Harvesting

Since they grow so quickly, lettuce will be ready to harvest within a few weeks after planting. You can harvest lettuce in 2 ways:

  • Whole head. Remove the entire plant and net pot from your Tower Garden, or cut all the leaves off at the base of the plant. If you choose this method, be sure to have replacement seedlings ready.
  • Individual leaf. This technique keeps the plant alive and encourages continued production. When there are plenty of mature leaves present:
    • Harvest only a few leaves at a time, from the bottom of the plant upward.
    • Allow 2–3 leaves to remain so the plant may keep growing.
    • Repeat every 2–3 days until the plant bolts, or begins flowering.
    • After bolting, replace the plant with a fresh seedling.

Ways to Enjoy

  • Salads – Lettuce is the base of any great salad. Flavor it up with your favorite dressing and ingredients, or get creative and try one of our special salad recipes in our lunch recipe section.
  • Sandwiches -  Nothing beats fresh, crisp lettuce piles high on top of inside delicious bread. Add some crunch (and some greens) to your next sandwich once your lettuce is ready for harvest. 
  • Wraps - Why not trade out your traditional flour wrap for a big, crunchy leaf of lettuce. Lettuce wraps aren’t only better for you, but they provide a whole new flavor altogether that’s loved by many all over the world.

Looking for more recipes and kitchen inspiration? Check out Let’s Cook.