Iceberg lettuce is a leafy vegetable that belongs to the plant family Asteraceae and belongs to the genus Lactuca and this plant is popular for its crispiness and awesome texture.
The iceberg lettuce is an annual plant that is usually grown for its tasty heads and it is the common “head-type” variety of the lettuce plant and it is the most popular variety consumed in the United States.
This variety of the lettuce plant is scientifically known as Lactuca sativa var. capitata and this plant thrive well in regions that receive full sunlight and it grows very well in soil with a pH between 6 and 7 and it is known for its ability to resist frost quite well and they grow well in almost all kind of soil.
Even though the iceberg lettuce plant can thrive well in almost any type of soil, they develop well in soil that is fertile and well-draining with good exposure to sunlight.
The iceberg lettuce has been an important ingredient in spicing salads and other vegetable foods and it has been cultivated in the United States for a very long time and it has been an important source of daily food for some people around the world.
The iceberg lettuce got its name “iceberg” from the fact that early growers of this plant in California shipped this vegetable on long-distance by covering it with heaps of ice to keep it in good shape for sale.
The iceberg lettuce is a highly nutritious plant and it is a good source of dietary fibers, vitamin A, B6, K, and C, folate, and minerals such as magnesium and potassium and it is known to be a very good plant for improving the bone’s health and eye health.
The iceberg lettuce is a small to medium-sized vegetable plant can grow to a height of about 15 to 50 cm and this plant is monoecious having both the male and female reproductive organ on a single plant and it practice self-pollination.
This plant, iceberg lettuce, is native to California where it was popular and it can grow to a diameter of 25 to 30 cm and this plant is quite easy to grow and will mature between 85 to 90 days of planting.
In this article, we will take you through the steps involved in growing iceberg lettuce so you should read through this article to learn more about how to grow this leafy vegetable around your home. Have a great time learning!
When is the right time to grow Iceberg lettuce at home?
Iceberg lettuce are sun-loving plants and this plant is known for its incredible ability to grow well in almost all kind of soil; however, why grow your plant in a soil that is not rich when you can simply get the soil to meet its need.
Before moving to the next stage of learning how the planting of your iceberg lettuce is to be done, one of the most important things to learn is when the appropriate time for planting is.
Knowing when to plant the iceberg lettuce will give you a better chance at preparing ahead and also grow healthy yet sweet and crispy lettuce.
If you are not certain of when planting should be done then this is the right place for you to be. Below are the appropriate times to plant your iceberg lettuce:
Iceberg lettuce can be sown or planted during this time of the year and this should be done as soon as the last spring frost as passed.
Planting should be done or carried out when the soil can be worked and preparation for planting for this season should have commenced in fall.
Young iceberg lettuce can withstand frost to a greater extent so the plant will definitely survive and grow well.
Plants grown during this period are usually aimed at providing vegetables for the fall and winter season when plant will not be able to grow as a result of frost and dormancy.
However, since heat can be too much during this season it is important to sow them in places or spots that receive partial shade.
You should also plant at a spot that can mitigate the exposure of the plant to excessive heat. Therefore, the use of row covers, mulches, and regular water supply will be of great importance to ensure the productivity of the plant. Therefore, the best time for planting iceberg lettuce is in early spring.
How to grow Iceberg lettuce at home
Growing iceberg lettuce is easy and simple and it very easy to learn. Growing your own lettuce vegetable plant in your home will make it easy for you to watch out for your own plant and it will also increase your credibility in the food you consume.
In this section of the article, we will take you through the steps to follow so as to grow your iceberg lettuce quite conveniently and easily. Read through to learn how to grow your iceberg lettuce; the steps involved are:
Plant the seeds ahead of the last expected spring frost:
Knowing when the last spring frost will be in your area will help know when indoor planting should take place. For clarification of the actual date and day check online and make sure to plan ahead for it.
Indoor planting should be carried between 4 to 6 weeks ahead of the actual last spring frost date. Below are the steps for planting indoors:
Fill seed trays with potting mix:
Choose a seed tray for growing your iceberg seeds and fill it up with a potting mix. Any vegetable potting mix will work out well and make sure that the tray has a drainage hole at its base and you can drill it if it doesn’t have. Fill the tray 2/3 of its actual holes’ size.
Plant the seeds:
Make a hole that is 1-inch deep and place 3 to 4 seeds. The seeds should be well covered with a light layer of the potting soil.
Place in a sunny location:
After planting, the seed tray should be placed at a location that receives sunlight quite efficiently and the plant should receive at least 12 hours sunlight. If you can’t get that much exposure for your plant, you can incorporate the use of grow lights.
Water the soil:
The growing soil should be watered regularly; once planting is complete and also regularly just to keep the soil moist always. Make sure too much water is not added too much as this can lead to rotting of the seeds.
Allow the seeds to grow:
Germination usually occurs within five days and once germination has occurred you should look out for the germinating seedlings.
Seedlings that do not come out with two leaves should be discarded and those that are not very healthy should be thinned out.
Leave the vigorous seedlings to grow. The healthy seedlings should be allowed to grow for at least four weeks before transplanting is done.
Acclimate the iceberg lettuce:
Ensuring that your plant can survive the outside environmental condition is essential and it is referred to as acclimation.
Before transplanting is carried out it is important that the plant is exposed to the outdoor environmental condition ahead of time and it should take just a week.
The plant should be exposed to more outdoor conditions as the days go by increasing their exposure by two hours.
Select a growing site:
Chose a spot that receives sunlight well and is fertile and well-drained. In case any form of improvement is needed the soil should be improved with fertilizers, composts, or manure ahead of time. Make sure that the soil is well-draining and has full sun exposure.
Prepare the growing site for planting:
The selected area should be organized into rows and holes 5-inch deep should be made at a distance of 10-inches apart to give enough space for the plant to grow.
Prepare for transplanting the seedling:
Before transferring the seedling, the soil in the tray should be watered well so as to keep the soil moist and ensure easy removal of the plant.
Removing while the soil is dry will kill the plant’s root and it won’t be able to germinate. When the soil is moist, carefully press the tray on the side and remove the seedling by pulling the outer leaves off the lettuce.
Plant the seedlings in holes:
The seedlings should be planted at an equal depth as when in trays. The removed seedling should be carefully handled, place the root in the soil, cover up the soil, and make the soil firm.
Once planting has been done, water the plants daily for 3 consecutive days just after transplanting has been completed.
Water in regular intervals:
Iceberg lettuce love water and they need it to develop well. Also, lack of water can cause the plant to bolt and this will affect the quality of the leaves and its taste.
Therefore, water should be supplied to plant 3 to 4 times weekly where there is less rain. In places where rain is experienced a lot, watering might not be too much – however, never let the soil go dry.
Mulch the plant:
This will ensure that soil moisture is readily available in the soil and will also hinder the growth and development of weeds. Provide mulching material to the base of the plant – chopped leaves or compost materials will work well.
Supply fertilizer to the plant base:
Fertilizer should be supplied to the plant every three to four weeks to ensure that the plant grows well and develop beautifully.
This will also ensure that the plant grows as robust as possible due to the availability of nutrients to the root. It also ensures early maturation.
Growing iceberg lettuce can be a way to add taste to your food and also add quality greens to your garden. If your aim is to add flavor and ensure better nutrition for your family and friends then you should grow this plant at home. Happy gardening!
On behalf of the author, thank you so much for taking the time to read this article !