Lettuce – In 100 degree heat

If you read my post of June 28 you know I picked an enormous amount of lettuce that day —  in already hot weather — in anticipation of even hotter weather and higher temperatures.

It didn’t take but two days into the hotter and higher temps for the leaves of the already bolted lettuce in the garden to start looking really bad. (By bad — I mean dull, bitter and uneatable.) And it didn’t take but about 3 salads and 3 lunches with lettuce for me to start worrying about how and when I was going to be able to get more lettuce.

I usually wait for a rain that breaks the drought or hot spell to literally change some of the lettuce leaves back into ones that are eatable. The forecast didn’t look to promising. So I decided to push the envelope and find out what was possible and what wasn’t.

Yesterday’s temperature reached over 100 degrees.  About 7PM when shade fell on the garden, I went out optimistically with a large bowl of water to see if I could find something that looked eatable. It was a real search, but I managed to find a bowl full of lettuce leaves that still had a bit of shine to them. (I described what to look for in my last post.)

I let it stay in the bowl of water overnight in the refrigerator. (Water and cool temperatures perform miracles with lettuce.) Then dried it.

The big test came today at lunch.  I used 1/3 of what I had harvested.  Drizzled with oil and vinegar. Used it to top off our pita pocket filled with advocado, white sweet onion, grated carrot and chopped radishes (also drizzled with olive oil and vinegar).


The forecast for the next few days calls for rain! I sure hope we get it.  If it rains, you can picture me in my garden searching for more lettuce. 🙂

Other Posts on Lettuce:
Lettuce – Secrets to Getting Eatable Lettuce Well into Summer

 Lettuce – How to Have More in the Off Season

Lettuce – There’s No Right or Wrong Way

Greens – Now is the Time to Plan for the Heat of Summer

Lettuce – Eating Fresh Even After it Stalks

Lettuce – Delicious as a Cooked Green

Lettuce Bitter? Secrets to Keeping it Tasty

Lettuce – Spinning Like a Great Chef

Spinach Talk

Lettuce – Favorites, Tips, and Several Sources

Lettuce – Plant in the Fall – Harvest for 3 Seasons

Lettuce – A Teaser and Reminder

Lettuce – Time to Plant


Organic Gardening it easy, efficient, effective and it’s a lot easier.


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  • Well done. I’ve never left lettuce overnight in a bowl of water in fridge, I’ll bet it helps. We had about 3/4 of an inch of rain here during the night – what a relief. Hope you got some rain too, Theresa.

  • Theresa, I have had trouble getting summer lettuce seeds to germinate because the soil is too hot, even under shade. This week I tricked some by starting it inside in front of a window air conditioner. (68 d. air flow) Sprouted in 3 days, moved to covered front porch for 3 days. Now an inch high and is in raised bed under insect cloth. I hope it makes it. I’m loving these cloudy days here in VA, too. Do you have any other suggestions when the soil temps are in the 90’s day after day?

  • Maryethel, I think your approach was excellent.
    That’s the kind of thinking we need to get around outdoor temperatures that are not conducive to seed germination.
    The only thing I can see that might be a possible problem is the lettuce under the insect cloth when temperature rises inside the enclosed area.
    If possible, you may want to use a shade cloth or rig some kind of shade for the lettuce.
    And of course, I’m sure you’re keeping the soil mulched to try to further keep the soil temperature down.

    It’s pretty hard to do anything else but start indoors in some form or fashion when the soil temps are in the 90s day after day.

    If you have an area in your garden that is in afternoon shade, you could wet the soil well and mulch heavily. Wait a day and take the soil temperature. It could possibly get into the 70s rather than the 90s like other places. If so – you could see if lettuce seed would germinate for you there. (Just pull back the mulch and sow the seed and then sprinkle lightly with straw, but enough to keep the soil from drying. You can add mulch as it grows.


  • It’s August in FL and way too hot for lettuce. I’m going to try growing it in the house and move to a covered patio. Just talking about it has my mouth watering. This year I have seeds for Buttercrunch, Sommer Bibb, Anuenue, Romaine, Red Salad Bowl and my all time favorite, Winter Density. If you know of any crisp and crunchy red lettuces I am all ears. Thanks!

  • Bonnie, nice to hear that your all time favorite is the same as mine – Winter Density!

    I’ve grown lots of red lettuces and I would be hard pressed to describe any of them as “crisp and crunchy”.
    They’re good of course, but to me they don’t compare to the crisp and crunch of Winter Density or Sierra Batavia.
    Lollo Rossa is one of the most beautiful reds I’ve grown. And I considered it delicious for a red lettuce.

    Hope this helps Bonnie.
    If you decide to try the Lollo Rossa, let me know what you think.


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