How to Cut Lettuce from a Garden

For people who love to grow their own wonderful vegetables on their decks, patios, balconies, fire escape ledges, front-yard, and back-yard gardens, the question, ‘How to cut lettuce from a garden?’ is an important one. The key is to cut it in a way that the plant does not get damaged, and it keeps growing back so that you can maximize the production of the plant. It is one of those plants that just keeps on giving, provided you harvest it properly. It is one of the easiest vegetables to grow yourself and offers you a tasty, healthy, and fresh meal. If you grow it once, it is difficult to go back to store-bought.

You can also grow the salad greens indoors in a Wifi-enabled, Alexa compatible, Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden. Let us get going as we have some harvesting to do.

What You’ll Need

Image-Text: To harvest lettuce from your garden, you will need scissors and a bowl
Alt-Text: How to cut lettuce from a garden is a question all vegetable growers want to know the answer to
Image Description: Several different garden tools are placed on a wooden surface

How to Cut Lettuce from a Garden

Before we move on to learning how to cut lettuce from a garden, let us look at the tools you will need. The process to harvest lettuce from a garden is fairly simple and does not require many resources. You can choose one from:

  • Grass shears
  • A small knife
  • Gardenshears
  • Scissors

For the collection of the leaves. And for holding your crop, you need any one of the following:

  • Basket
  • Container
  • Shopping bag, etc.

Make sure all your tools are clean and sanitized before you begin the process. Make sure you clean any debris or dirt from the tool you are using and wipe its blades with a paper towel or a soft cloth that is moistened with rubbing alcohol. Apply the process both before and after the harvesting, so the lettuce you get does not get contaminated, and the plant that continues to grow does not receive any damage through an infestation either.

Harvesting Lettuce by Type

There are different varieties of lettuce, and knowing which one you have grown to know how to cut lettuce from a garden is essential for applying the right method to harvest it. The different kinds of lettuce include:

  • Stem lettuce
  • Butterhead lettuce
  • Crisphead lettuce
  • Loose-leaf lettuce
  • Cos lettuce
  • Microgreens

The best time to harvest lettuce depends on the type of lettuce you grow. The packet that holds your seeds provides an estimation of when the specific kind of lettuce is ready to harvest.


Microgreens of many plants are popular for garnishing purposes. However, they are packed with Vitamins K, E, and C, beta-carotene, antioxidants, and many other healthy nutrients.

Lettuce microgreens are extremely easy to harvest and do not require much waiting from you. After you sow the seeds, frequently visit the plant to see how much it has grown. After around 10 to 15 days, the first true leaves will emerge, and you can harvest them then. If you want to wait for a little, then wait for them to be 2 to 3 inches tall before you grab a pair of scissors, mark the plant 1/2 inch above the soil line, and cut it from there.

You can leave it to grow if you want to harvest full-size leaves the next time or keep harvesting the plant as microgreens. Different heights of the plant when you harvest it offer different flavour profiles and textures, and it is fun to experiment with them.

Loose-Leaf Lettuce

Loose-leaf offers multiple harvests during the season, and the window for when it can be harvested is wide. From 25 days after planting the seeds to when the plant is 50 to 60 days old, you can pick its leaves anytime. Just make sure you harvest it before the leaves start to bolt. The ideal height of the leaves for harvesting is 4 inches. You should cut the leaves 1 to 2 inches above the line of soil or 1/2 to 1 inch away from the crown. Make sure you do not damage the crown.

The leaf lettuce grows out from the centre of its crown. The crown is the part right in the middle of the plant out of which leaves emerge. As long as you keep your cutting off and away from the crown, your fresh and tasty salads will continue to grow every 10 to 15 days throughout the season.

Crisp Head Lettuce

Also known as iceberg lettuce, crisphead salad leaves reemerge, but the full head of the lettuce is not reformed. The ideal time to harvest it is 50 to 75 days after sowing the seeds before the exterior leaves start turning brown. If you notice the lettuce or its seed stalk starting to bolt (it often happens when the temperatures are hot), cut it immediately.


Cut it right below the leaves where the stem starts. Make sure not to damage the lettuce head. It can be a little tricky to harvest crisphead lettuce as its stem is relatively thicker than the other types.

Butter Head Lettuce

The harvesting window of butterhead lettuce is between 45 and 75 days after planting. It loses its flavour if you leave it unharvested after it gets fully mature. The answer to how to cut lettuce from a garden with respect to butterhead lettuce is the same as loose leaf lettuce if you want its leaves. However, if you want to harvest its whole head, you can pull out the whole plant and cut off its base and stalk, or if you want it to regrow, you can cut it from just below the head and leave its base intact.

Stem Lettuce

This type is popular for its stems rather than its leaves. When the stem is one inch in diameter, you can cut the stalk of the plant at its base or dig up the whole plant and trim away its roots and leaves to get the stems.

Cos Lettuce

Also called Romaine lettuce, Cos lettuce gets mature after 55 to 70 days of its planting when the leaves are 6 to inches long. Cut the leaves 1 to 2 inches above the soil line and enjoy their crispiness and crunchiness in your salad.

Our Final Thoughts

It is better if you harvest lettuce during the morning when the temperature is low before the heat of the day hits, as the crop is the crispest and sweetest at that time. Remember to always check which type of lettuce you are harvesting so that you know when it is ideally mature, and you can snap it off accordingly. Now that you know how to cut lettuce from a garden, you can grow your own salad greens and impress your guests with them.