How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Planting lettuce

Lettuce can be seeded directly or transplanted into the garden. It is best planted on raised beds made by adding large amounts of soil amendments so that a bed is established above the previous level of soil. If seeding, plant more seeds than necessary so as to make up for any losses. Plant seeds in rows 2 feet apart. Push them into the soil 0.25 inch deep or less. Fill these holes by scratching the surface, firm the soil lightly, and cover with a thin mulch of organic material in order to hold soil moisture. Keep moist during the germination period. If growing lettuce during the summer months, protect seedlings from sunburn with 50% shade cloth or two layers of floating row cover until they have about six leaves. Lettuce plants should be thinned anywhere from 3 to 8 weeks after plants reach the three- to four-leaf stage. Thin to 6 inches between plants for leaf lettuce and to 12 inches for head lettuce.

For transplants, use young plants with four to six true leaves, wider than tall, stocky, succulent, and slightly hardened to outdoor conditions. Spread and mix organic amendments and a good granular phosphorus fertilizer over the area. Mark where you want each plant and make the hole deep enough to bury the stem as far as the first leaf. Place the plant deep into the hole. Head lettuce should be spaced 12 inches apart; leaf lettuce 6 inches apart with 2 feet between rows. Press the soil firmly around the plant and water thoroughly to remove any air pockets. If transplanting in the summer, shade the plants in the middle of the day for the first week or use floating row cover.

Direct seed
Direct Seed


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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