How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Time to plant

Lettuce includes head lettuce and loose-leaf lettuce. They are ideally suited to many parts of California. They are hardy, cool-season vegetables. Their cultural requirements are similar. Ideally, they are best grown when the average air temperatures are between 73° F during the day and 45° F at night. The growing season can be extended by using a floating row cover, which offers a few degrees of frost protection and provides a warmer growing environment. At higher temperature ranges, lettuce may bolt and become bitter. Loose, fluffy heads and tipburn may also be caused by high temperatures. At temperatures near freezing, young plants are not damaged, but growth is slow. Optimum temperatures for germination range from 68° to 77° F. Above 86° F, seed germination is inhibited.

Lettuce is suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. In suitable climates, these crops can be planted more than once a year for a continuous harvest.

Planting Dates for Lettuce*

CALIFORNIA Transplant or direct seed

North and North Coast
Monterey County north


South Coast
San Luis Obispo County south
Interior Valleys
Sacramento, San Joaquin valleys
Aug., Nov.–March
Desert Valleys
Imperial and Coachella valleys

*Transplants may be started indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date. Areas are large, so planting dates are only approximate, as the climate may vary even in small sections of the state. Contact experienced gardeners in your community and experiment on your own to find more precise dates.

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