Growing cos lettuce

The leaves of cos lettuce are long and crisp, with a sweeter flavour than cabbage types. Since the plants take longer to reach maturity, they take up space in the vegetable garden for an extended period. In smaller gardens, a dwarf variety like Little Gem may he recommended for this reason.

How to grow cos lettuce

– For summer crops raised in the open, apply a base dressing of a general-purpose fertilizer before sowing and/or transplanting.

– Thin seedlings when large enough to handle, reducing the distances for Little Gem to 25cm/10in between the rows and l5cm/6in between the plants.

– Keep weeds in check. For over-wintering, see gutterhead lettuce, and choose a suitably hardy variety.

Harvesting cos lettuce

Cos lettuces are less likely to bolt than cabbage lettuces, but in hot, dry weather inspect the plants regularly and pick them as soon as they mature.

Pests and diseases

As well as aphids and slugs, lettuces are susceptible to damping-off diseases and mildew.

Tips for growing cos lettuce

If some cos lettuce are grown close together they grow upright, produce good leaves more quickly and do not form hearts. Space 10cm/4in apart. Stumps of lettuces can also be left in the ground to regrow and provide a second crop.

Cultivation Summary

– suitable for growing in small plot

– prefers sunny location

– seeds sown 2cm/0.75 inch apart in rows 30cm/12in apart

– thin seedlings to 30cm/12inch apart

– cropping takes around 2-3 months