- Author: Marcy Sousa
By: Master Gardener Lee Miller
My lettuce that I didn't get to harvest is now bursting with blossoms and seeds. I love lettuce and the salads made from it. Hence, I like to grow lots of different kinds and colors too: butter heads, leaf types, and cos (Romaine).
That said, there is a chance of cross pollination by insects so if you want to keep your variety pure you can separate varieties by 10-20 feet. Even if there is cross pollination, you will still get lettuce and maybe something new and interesting.
Harvesting lettuce seed is easy to do. When the blooms turn brown and the flower fuzz turns white it is time. Cut the stem, invert in a clean 5 gallon bucket and shake and bash the plant against it sides. The seeds will drop to the bottom and now you need to separate the chaff from the seed. You can do this with a colander or screen and let the seed fall through or you can blow the chaff away by a little wind power, but not too much as the seed is fairly light in weight. However, there is so much seed that a little loss is tolerable. Lettuce seed should be labeled and stored in a dry, cool, dark environment-like in a jar or plastic bag in a refrigerator. It should remain viable for 3 years. For more info on growing lettuce, click here.