Do you love growing lettuce each year in your garden, but you’re looking to save some money on seeds? Maybe you love the variety you grew this year and want to grow it again year after year after year. Lucky for you, lettuce is an easy plant for seed-saving!
If you want to learn how to get free lettuce seeds season after season, keep on reading! This blog post will give you some of the best varieties of lettuce for seed saving, the easy steps to save seeds, and some answers to frequently asked questions about saving seeds from lettuce plants.
HEIRLOOM VS HYBRID LETTUCE SEEDS
First, a little bit about heirloom and hybrid seeds. I go into more detail about this in my post Why Buy Organic and Heirloom Seeds, but what you need to know is that if you’re planning to save seeds, they need to be heirlooms! Hybrid seeds are less reliable and will normally revert back to their parent seeds when planted after seed saving.
Some of my favourite heirloom varieties of lettuce include Buttercrunch, Salad Bowl, and Drunken Woman. I’ve also grown Blackseed Simpson and liked it. This Simpson Elite variety looks quite similar! Freckles is one of my all-time favourite heirloom varieties, as it grows well in my garden and my whole family likes it.
The best-of-the-best heirloom lettuce variety has got to be Red Sails. This is definitely one of the toughest lettuce plants I have ever grown. It grows anywhere, in any condition. If you suck at growing things, pick yourself up some Red Sails, as it’s the most forgiving.
How to save lettuce seeds
- Let a lettuce plant grow–do not cut it for salad!
- Once it resembles a dandelion, pinch the poofs. (NOTE: Don’t pick the poofs when they’re compact. Pick them when they are more spread out and almost ready to fall off naturally!)
- Rub the poof between your fingers, and the seeds will detach from the poof for the most part. The seeds will then be between your fingers and the rest will fall away. (NOTE: This is not a perfect method. You will not get the most beautiful seeds as you would from a seed company as they have professional seed cleaners. That being said, there is no need to be precious about this. The little parts connected to the seeds will decompose into the soil when you plant your seeds. They do not to be clean and perfect looking to grow into delicious lettuce plants!)
- OPTIONAL: If you’re worried about moisture, I like to put my seeds on a plate or wax paper for about a month to dry out before I put them away.
- Put the seeds in an envelope (if you like things to be aesthetically pleasing, these are the perfect size!) and label them immediately.
A note about re-growing lettuce: You can also grow vegetables in water as I’ve done in the video below. I much prefer seed saving over this method. Unless you’re set up with a hydroponic water system, seed saving will result in more and better lettuce.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SAVING LETTUCE SEEDS
1. Should I let my lettuce go to seed?
Yes! If it’s an heirloom variety or even if you’re not terribly sure, let it go to seed. You will be rewarded with some volunteers in the spring. And yes, this works for romaine lettuce, as well!
2. how long can you save lettuce seeds?
Lettuce seeds are viable for at least five years. As long as you leave your packaged seeds in an airtight container and keep them in a dry, consistently cool location, they will last 5-6 years. Seeds kept in envelopes in an airtight container in an unlit fridge or cold room are the gold standard!
3. where are the seeds in lettuce?
When you let your lettuce plants go to seed, let them grow out into tall towers. The lettuce plants should then get yellow flowers that sort of resemble dandelions that will turn into little poofs that also sort of resemble dandelions. Inside that poof is where you’ll find the seeds. We only use scientific terms here at Shifting Roots, of course!
Will you save lettuce seeds this season?
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WANT TO LEARN TO SAVE CUT FLOWER SEEDS, TOO?
There are so many flowers you can save from seed that will easily save you more than $200 on your cut flower gardening bill. If you’re tired of spending so much money on your flower garden every spring, you need Savvy Seed Saving. This ebook teaches you how to save 18 different annual cut flower seeds, putting money back in your pocket!