All About Plants


The plant we’re going to talk about today is lettuce. How to plant leaf lettuce and how to care for leaf lettuce.

My favorite leaf lettuce is Buttercrunch or Red Sail. Although there are different kinds of lettuce, these two are my favorites.

Lettuce is a cool weather plant, meaning it does not like a lot of heat. Heat will cause the lettuce to “bolt” which means it grows flower-like blooms and gets strong and bitter. Lettuce grows best in full sun in loose, nitrogen-rich soils. You can also get a head start by planting seeds inside.


As soon as we think we’ve gotten the last frost, we plant our leaf lettuce plants in a flower bed next to the house on the southern side of the house. It’s a good place to plant the first crop since it’s too early to plant flowers. If a very cold night is forecast, we cover them with old hanging flower pots that we saved from the year before. We are able to plant two crops before it gets too hot.

We also plant each group of six plants about two weeks apart so we can enjoy the lettuce for a longer period.

Once it starts growing, we have more lettuce than we can use. So our neighbors and relatives also enjoy our bounty.


We pick the lettuce and leave the plants to continue producing. Some growers wait until the stalk is full and cut the entire stalk but we like the individual leaves. I put the leaves in ice water for a few minutes to clean it or run it under very cold water if I’m in a hurry. I purchased a lettuce dryer, then spin the water off the leaves, put the lettuce in Ziploc baggies, push most of the air out before closing the bag. The lettuce lasts for several days in the refrigerator.


There are several types of lettuce, but three (leaf, head and romaine) are the most common.

  • Leaf lettuce – this type has loosely bunched leaves and is a very popular variety. It is used mainly for salads.
  • Romaine lettuce – This is the most often used lettuce in Caesar salads. Used mainly for salads and sandwiches, this type forms long, upright heads.
  • Iceberg lettuce – this is the most popular type in the US, it is low in flavor and nutritional value.
  • Butterhead lettuce – Is known for its sweet flavor and tender texture. Also known as Boston or Bibb lettuce, this type is a head lettuce with a loose arrangement of leaves.

These are just a few of the different varieties of lettuce.


Many insects are attracted to lettuce, including cutworms, wireworms, nematodes, aphids, leafhoppers, thrips, leafminers, and flea beetles. Our problems seem to come from the slugs and snails, which cut large holes in leaves. Rabbits and groundhogs, also eat the plants. We struggle with the rabbits but not so much with the groundhogs until we plant vegetables in the main garden. Then the groundhogs have a feast along with the rabbits.

That’s it for today.


Planting Your Garden In A Small Area

No matter how small your garden or other area around the yard, you can grow more by growing vegetables vertically. Growing vegetables in a small space is much easier when you grow them vertically. There are other ways to grow vegetables in small spaces but I especially like growing them vertically if they are capable of vining.

Grow the veggies that take up a lot of ground space and are capable of  vining– such as tomatoes, pole beans, peas, squash, melons, cukes, and so on.

These can be supported by trellises, fences, cages, or stakes.

Vertical vegetable growing helps the vegetable produce more abundant and straighter vegetables.

 Vines grow straighter due to gravity. Less pest damage, abundant foliage protects from sunburn, takes up less space so there’s more room for other plants.

Reasons To Grow Vertically

Growing vegetables vertically also saves time and space leaving more area for other veggies that don’t do well with vining.

 Harvest and maintenance go faster because you can see exactly where the veggies are.

Fungal diseases are also less likely to affect upward-bound plants because of the improved air circulation around the foliage.

We grow as many vegetables as we use that are vining plants such as cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and cantaloupes.

We even planted our cucumbers outside the house in a flower bed. We built a wooden A-shaped frame and planted five plants inside the A-frame. The cucumbers loved it!

They climbed up the A-frame and then attached their tendrils to the window screen which was right above the frame. We didn’t plan on the vine climbing to the window screen.

Here Are Some Pictures Of Our Vertical Plants

Here’s a picture looking out at the cucumber from inside. The picture looks a bit grainey but that’s because we’re looking through the window screen.

Here the vines reached out and attached to the fence. We didn’t see one of the cukes growing between the house and the fence where it got lodged. Here’s a picture of that poor cuke.



Here’s a picture of the A-frame we use for the cucumbers.

My husband built the A-frame himself. It can be taken down and folded nicely for winter storage.

Types of Vertical Supports

  • Tripods and teepees
  • A-frames
  • Posts and poles
  • Trellis, netting or fence
  • Wooden or wire cages

We always have abundant growth of tomatoes and peppers using wire cages. We use wire cages for these plants since we have really good luck with them using wire cages.  We put black ground cover around the plants to hold the moisture in the ground.

Try some vertical planting next gardening season. I’m sure you’ll love it.

Happy gardening!