In Summary
  • The vegetable is mainly consumed as salad, though the loose leaves are used in preparing sandwiches in hotels and restaurants.
  • Lettuce thrives well both in the open field and in a greenhouse. It’s planted by first raising the seedlings in a nursery, which are usually ready for transplanting after 3-4 weeks.
  • Mulching should be done to conserve moisture and buffer the growth of weeds and keep the heads free from soil splashes.
  • Lettuce is harvested by cutting off the head using a sharp knife preferably early in the morning or late in the evening to prevent moisture loss.

One of the crops gaining popularity among farmers is lettuce, a leafy vegetable in Asteraceae family, which matures 45-60 days.

It’s a highly nutritious vegetable that helps to cut cholesterol level hence it assists in weight management.

There are two major varieties of lettuce, that is the heading and non-heading. The heading variety tends to form a compacted head like cabbages while the non-heading one has loose leaves.

The green leaves are the edible part of the crop though there is also a purple non-heading lettuce.

The vegetable is mainly consumed as salad, though the loose leaves are used in preparing sandwiches in hotels and restaurants.

Lettuce is little known in most households in Kenya, which makes it less consumed though it is slowly gaining acceptance.

I encountered one of the farmers growing the crop recently, and her major cry is that the market is small making farmers incur losses. The high perishability of the crop adds to farmers’ woes.

Lettuce thrives well both in the open field and in a greenhouse. It’s planted by first raising the seedlings in a nursery, which are usually ready for transplanting after 3-4 weeks.

The land should be prepared to a fine tilth and well-composted manure applied. The ideal spacing is 30 by 30cm or 25 by 25cm depending on the variety and the nutritional status of the soil.

COMPETITION FOR NUTRIENTS

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