Before you go to the effort of saving your lettuce seeds, first, make sure to save seeds only from open-pollinated or heirloom varieties. Store your seeds in a cool, dry place until it’s time to plant them. Open-pollinated and heirloom plants both grow true to seed for years to come. You have formed a little tulle bag around your flower head. Later the plant will produce flowers to pollinate and finally fertile seeds. These plants won’t flower or seed in the first year but instead, go almost dormant through the winter months and leaf out again the following spring. Michigan State University Extension Website. Bananas don't produce seed that will grow any more, so they are grown from cuttings of existing plants - and the same goes for seedless grapes etc. Read our, The Spruce uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Small, tender lettuce leaves are pretty to look at and delicious to eat, but when the plant goes to seed, it looks gangly and unattractive as it bolts (sends up a flower stalk to produce seeds). The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Some heirloom seeds are even documented and can come from a variety that's well over 50 years old. Lettuce seeds love good moisture levels in the soil, but damp soil can kill your seeds. University of Illinois Website, How to Grow Lettuce. Before you go to the effort of saving your lettuce seeds, first, make sure to save seeds only from open-pollinated or heirloom varieties. Waiting out this awkward growing cycle—when some veggies plants look plump and beautiful while the greens are past their prime—is hard to do for those who value garden aesthetics. Transfer them to a plastic bag or jar and mark it with the variety and year harvested. After a bolt, it's time to harvest your seeds. Lettuce is most often used for salads, although it is also seen in other kinds of food, such as soups, sandwiches and wraps; it can also be grilled. If the seeds are new, one seed in each hole is enough, but if seeds are old, 2 to 3 seeds can do the trick. In lettuce there are no seeds, so how are heads of lettuce planted? After seed harvest, go through your collection and remove the fluff and chaff to isolate the seeds. Saving seeds allows you to cherry-pick the varieties that perform well in your garden or heirloom varieties that are hard to obtain. It has had little or no slug damage , dealt with all weather conditions well , hearts up lovely , looks great and tastes suberb . Open-pollinated and heirloom plants both grow true to seed for years to come. There are a couple of ways to complete this process properly. One involves holding a paper bag near the plant and shaking the flower head over it daily until most of the ripened seed is gone. All plants that you will come across normally grow from seeds, with a few exceptions. Lettuce was linked with the Egyptian god Min. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board. The flowers come later (the lettuce is said to have "bolted", and the seeds develop in the fruits, which come from the flowers. Once the blossoms start to fade, the heads will eventually turn yellow or brown. Each of the parachutes is attached to several lettuce seeds. It is most often grown as a leaf vegetable, but sometimes for its stem and seeds. All seed bearing plants produce seed at some point in their growth cycle. If you have a garden full of lettuce, mesclun, and arugula, saving your own seeds is an economical way to propagate next year's crop. They provide some of the earliest harvests from the garden before seeding in the spring or summer of their second year. In addition to its main use as a leafy green, it has also gathered religious and medicinal signi… A New Source of Maize Hybrid Vigor. The flowers self-pollinate and wilt. The plant will produce small clusters of flowers. The plant thinks it’s going to die and seeds in a last-ditch effort to preserve offspring. Colleen Vanderlinden is a freelance writer and the author of Edible Gardening for the Midwest. Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is an annual plant of the daisy family, Asteraceae. Later the plant will produce flowers to pollinate and finally fertile seeds. - small pkt approx 150 seed, organic £ Stock: Your lettuce 'Reine des Glaces' is without doubt the best lettuce I have ever grown. In fact, one plant per variety will provide more than enough seed for next year's harvest. To prevent this, isolate each plant with a plastic bag or floating row cover to create a mini-greenhouse over each particular species. All five varieties of lettuce (stem, loose-leaf, butterhead, crisphead and romaine) produce seeds in a similar manner: by sending up a seed stalk in the center of the plant. It’s a quick and easy crop. Tiny flowers bloom from this seed stalk, and then they self-pollinate to produce seeds. Initially, plants will produce leaves to collect sunlight. Since it’s not dependent upon a pollinator, most farmers get more than one crop of lettuce in a year typically planting in the spring and fall. The breeze from the fan will blow away trimmings. Once the plant sends up its seed stalk, the leaves become bitter and tough, making them unpleasant to eat. Here is an easy method for saving lettuce seed. It is so easy to collect and save lettuce seeds that you will be amazed that you didn’t start sooner. By using The Spruce, you accept our, Seed Saving - Quick Tips for Saving Your Garden Favorites, How to Save Cucumber Seeds From Your Garden, How to Save Tomato Seeds to Grow Next Year, Heirloom, Open-Pollinated, and Hybrid Seeds, How to Save Beans to Plant in Next Year's Garden, Difference Between Heirloom, Hybrid, and GMO Vegetables. These flowers contain the plant's pollen and will eventually produce a puffball full of seeds that, if left to its own device, will disperse to other parts of the garden. This is common in lettuce that gets too hot or dry even just for a day or two. Can also be grown as a Winter Lettuce, the picture here shows it unearthed from the snow where it was growing high in the Pyrenees. Both tactics will work, yet the first method takes more time and effort and the second method yields fewer seeds since you pull the plant before they all ripen. Come September start sowing winter lettuce seeds. Initially, plants will produce leaves to collect sunlight. Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is an annual plant of the daisy family, Asteraceae.It is most often grown as a leaf vegetable, but sometimes for its stem and seeds. One variety, the woju (t:萵苣/s:莴苣), or asparagus lettuce (Celtuce), is grown for its stems, which are eaten either raw or cooked. Seeds take anywhere from 12 to 24 days after blooming to ripen. Open-pollinated varieties are more genetically diverse, allowing them to better adapt to specific growing conditions. You can also construct a cage covered in a screen and place it over an entire plant to isolate it from others. : Where do lettuce seeds come from? The pappus is the plant’s natural dispersal system designed to spread the seeds through the wind. The good news is that you don't need a lot of plants to produce seeds. The cultivation of lettuce was shared with the Greeks, who then shared the leafy plant with the Romans. And you won't even see them if you plan your garden's layout with this in mind. You can do it, but there's no telling what you may end up with. Fungi don't flower, nor do ferns. For the most part, lettuce is grown as an annual. As the seeds mature they will fall into your tulle bag instead of blowing away. Some lettuces and lettuce-like plants can overwinter in milder climates and become biennials.

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