How to Harvest Romaine Lettuce – 3 Easy Steps

Do you enjoy adding tender romaine leaves to your salads and sandwiches? If you wish to enjoy fresh romaine lettuce right from the garden, then you need to make sure you learn how to harvest romaine lettuce and other proper harvesting practices, tips, and tricks.

Romaine lettuce is a healthy, popular variety of head lettuce that is relatively easy to grow; however, knowing when and how to harvest is essential since it will affect the quality of romaine lettuce. The reason why today we’ll be sharing with you everything you need to know about how to harvest romaine lettuce.

Though it may seem a little intimidating, especially if you are new to growing your veggies, you have nothing to worry about. Harvesting romaine lettuce is fairly simple. With the right tools and a few simple steps and guidelines, you’ll soon become a pro at how to harvest romaine lettuce.

How to Harvest Romaine Lettuce

Harvest Individual Romaine Lettuce Leaves

When your romaine lettuce is about 5 or 6 inches high, it’s in the baby-leaf or mini-head stage. At this time, you can start enjoying some of the plant’s crisp green leaves.

  1. Break leaves off at their base by snapping them down, or you can cut them off with sharp scissors.
  2. You can harvest the leaves at any point after they’re more than a couple of inches long.
  3. Always leave 2/3 of the leaves so your plant has the energy to continue producing.
  4. Harvest a few outer leaves from each plant, allowing the center leaves to continue maturing.

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The K7A pruning snips are very light and razor-sharp. These long-bladed floral shears are specially designed for picking flowers, herbs, and deadheading.

The pointed, thin blades ensure you can reach even the tightest spaces, like stems inside bundles. The K7A is not suitable for cutting hard (woody) stems.

Features:

  • Straight, Carbon Steel Blades
  • Long reach
  • Sharp blade

To harvest whole Romaine Lettuce heads

Once your lettuce prepares to seed, harvest the entire head before it becomes bitter.

  1. Romaine’s heads are ready to harvest around 65–70 days after planting the seeds and can take under three months to fully mature.
  2. Cut the head off above the base when you want a second harvest. To harvest all the romaine heads at once, use sharp gardening shears.
  3. Make sure the lettuce has time to re-sprout leaves following your first harvest. After cutting the full head at once, the roots often produce additional lettuce leaves you can use as your second harvest at 55–60 days from the first harvest.

Recommended Product: Crop Harvest Knife

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The Zenport K116 stainless steel 6-inch straight-edge knife blade is used for row crop harvesting fruits and vegetables and other processing applications requiring a sharp, stiff knife blade.

Bright orange non-slip grip plastic handle is easy to identify in the field. The 6-inch long straight-edge stainless steel blade is easy to use.

Features:

  • Stainless steel blade
  • 6-inch long

Will romaine lettuce regrow after cutting?

The answer is yes; to regrow lettuce, start by taking it and cutting it about 1 inch from the bottom. Put this stem in a shallow dish with about 1/2 inch of water. In about 10-12 days, the lettuce will be fully grown.

How do you harvest Romaine so it keeps growing?

To harvest individual leaves from your plants, pick healthy-looking outer leaves and leave the center ones to keep growing. You can break leaves off at their base by snapping them down or cutting them off with sharp scissors.
This method of harvesting will keep your plants growing as long as you don’t break the central stem. Keep them well-watered, especially during hot weather, to encourage new growth.

How do I know when my romaine lettuce is ready to pick?

Romaine lettuce is generally ready to harvest 70 to 75 days after planting.
You can tell that your lettuce is mature and ready to be picked when it looks dark green and the leaves look open; leaves should also overlap in a tight bunch. Romaine lettuce should be harvested when it’s full size but just before it’s reached maturity.

Keep an eye on the inner leaves of the romaine head and give them time to continue growing. Once they’ve opened up and matured, they’re ready to harvest. This process can happen quickly, so check on your garden daily.

How do you pick romaine lettuce from your garden?

Using a sharp, clean knife, cut the romaine heads off just above the soil line and below the lower leaves. Cutting the romaine allows the plant to grow additional lettuce possibly. If you aren’t interested in growing a second crop, you can dig up the entire lettuce plant.

How do you prevent romaine lettuce from bolting?

  • To keep from bolting, plant leafy lettuce in the spring. You can continually harvest romaine lettuce throughout the year, as it can prevent bolting and provide lettuce leaves for most of the summer.
  • Lettuce is like an iceberg for the head, and they mature as the weather cools. You can also grow in the shade so your lettuce won’t face the sun and hot weather. This prevents bolting since the crop doesn’t possess full energy, yet they come with stunted growth.

How to Store Lettuce?

  1. Soak lettuce in a bowl of cold water. If you have a large enough container, you can soak the entire head to help remove dirt, insects, and slugs.
    If you have a large salad spinner, you can soak your lettuce in it.
  2. Dry your lettuce. If you have a whole head, you can’t bear to cut into yet, gently shake it dry. If you’re ready to cut into your romaine or harvested individual leaves, cut them to size, so they fit comfortably in your salad spinner.
  3. Transfer your lettuce to a container with a lid, or put the strainer basket back into your salad spinner.
  4. Moisten a few paper towels, place them on top of your lettuce, and then close the container.
  5. Please place it in the fridge, making sure to avoid areas that are prone to freezing.

Recommended Product: Salad Spinner

For easy salad preparation. Press the soft, non-slip knob to start the basket spinning.

Washing and drying leafy vegetables has never been simpler or more fun than with this gadget. The basket and bowl can be taken apart and used separately.

The knob locks down for easy storage, and the spinner is dishwasher-safe. Use this tool with lettuce, raw spinach, broad-leafed herbs, and greens.

Features:

  • Nonslip ring
  • Dishwasher safe

How to Harvest Romaine Lettuce – Additional Tips

  • Unlike iceberg lettuce, the romaine heads will not be densely closed in upon themselves when they mature.
  • Be careful not to cut through any rocks or soil, or you’ll dull the blades of your shears.
  • Pulling up the full romaine head will also bring the roots out of the ground.
  • The romaine leaves should be kept dry in the fridge for about ten days.

How to Harvest Romaine Lettuce Tutorial Video

Interested in reading about how to harvest any other type of lettuce?

Photo of author
Joe Farmer, The harvesting guy is all about fresh produce and enjoying the harvest all year round. He's got tips and tricks for backyard harvesting and is always up for sharing his love of homegrown food. When he's not in the garden, you can find him out on the hiking trail or cooking up something delicious in the kitchen.
Photo of author
Joe Farmer, The harvesting guy is all about fresh produce and enjoying the harvest all year round. He's got tips and tricks for backyard harvesting and is always up for sharing his love of homegrown food. When he's not in the garden, you can find him out on the hiking trail or cooking up something delicious in the kitchen.