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How to sow and grow winter lettuce

This hearty head lettuce is ideal for your Planty Garden. It grows well in cold weather and can even handle frost. Ideal for your empty vegetable patches in the fall.
Wintersla Makkelijke Moestuin in het voorjaar
Winter lettuce

What is winter lettuce?

Winter lettuce is a version of butterhead lettuce that is even more resistant to cold. So, you can sow in fall to harvest in winter or early spring.

This winter lettuce is often grown under glass or in a cold greenhouse in winter. But if the weather isn't too harsh, it'll do great under a crop cover (the MM-Muts).

The plants form sturdy, green lettuce heads. When fully grown, 4 won't fit in 1 lettuce patch - but since they grow slowly it works out fine in a Planty Garden.

You can also sow winter lettuce in March and April. Just harvest before the heads get too big.

Vitamins and minerals in winter lettuce

So, this lettuce isn't the healthiest vegetable ever. But every little bit helps 😉

Winter lettuce contains a fair amount of vitamin A, as well as some B11 and C. The iron and potassium in it are good for you too.
Volwassen kroppen wintersla Makkelijke Moestuin
Fully grown winter lettuce

More about our winter lettuce seeds

Winter lettuce plants are strong and taste delicious. They can handle the cold, even frost. They're perfect for your empty patches in the fall.

Sow in August, and you’ll harvest before winter. If you sow in October and cover them with an MM-Muts, you’ll harvest in winter or early spring.

  • Species name: Merveille d'Hiver
  • Family: leaf
  • Plants per square patch: 4
  • Height: 10 to 25 cm
  • Sowing time: August to October
  • Sowing depth: 0.5 to 1 cm
  • Germination: 5 to 18°C in 2 to 14 days
  • Time to harvest: When sown in August, after 6-8 weeks. When sown later it takes longer. During the winter months, growth almost stops.
  • Sunlight: Grows best in the lightest spot you've got

Want to buy winter lettuce seeds? We sell seed bags separately, or, you can get them as part of a seed pack:

What do you need to grow your own winter lettuce?

https://makkelijkemoestuin.nl/en/shop/mm-grow-bags-and-boxes
Kleine plantjes wintersla Makkelijke Moestuin
Small winter lettuce plants

How do you sow and grow winter lettuce?

This lettuce is included in the free Planty Gardening app. Use it, and you'll get step-by-step guidance from seed to harvest.

Each vegetable goes through a number of stages - we call them levels. The app tells you exactly what to do at each level and checks in when your plants are ready for the next one.

So you don't need to know how to grow winter lettuce in advance: the app takes you through every step.

But if you'd like to read more about those steps, here's what the process looks like:
Plantjes wintersla Makkelijke Moestuin in de winter
Winter lettuce grows in the winter

Level 1: Sowing winter lettuce

Choose a square patch at the front of your garden box. Loosen up the moist MM-Mix and sow like this:
  • poke 4 holes in the patch (no deeper than 1 cm)
  • put 2 to 3 seeds in each hole
  • carefully cover up the holes with soil mix

After about a week, you'll see something green come up. It depends a bit on the weather. 

If you sow in the spring, it will take a little longer.

Level 2: Winter lettuce seedlings

As soon as you see the first seedlings, you know things are going well. They probably won't all come up at once, but give it another week.

Then it's time for the next level.
Zaailingen wintersla Makkelijke Moestuin
Winter lettuce seedlings

Level 3: Thinning winter lettuce seedlings

When several seedlings come up in each hole that you sowed, choose the best ones and remove the rest: that's called thinning out. It might sound harsh, but it's necessary. The remaining plants need that room to grow.

If you see spots where nothing came up, sow a few more seeds.

And keep an eye out for snails: they love these seedlings.
WINTERSLA-4.jpg

Level 4: Caring for your winter lettuce plants

After a week or 2, your seedlings will become small plants.

You hardly need to do anything: if the weather's dry, give them some water and remove the odd dead or yellow leaf. Easy 🙂
WINTERSLA-7.jpg

Level 5: Harvesting

If you sow in August, this level is 7 to 8 weeks after sowing: the plants are ready for the first harvest. (Sowing in October will give you the first harvest in April and May.)

You can harvest in 2 ways.

Option 1:
Cut or pick the individual leaves. As long as you leave the center of the plants, new leaves will appear. This way you can keep picking for a few weeks.

Option 2:
Harvest whole heads. Cut off 1 or 2 heads along right along the soil mix. They'll be a bit small at first but very tasty.

Let the remaining lettuce heads grow. You'll harvest them in the coming weeks.

What do you use winter lettuce for?

Winter lettuce makes for delicious salads. But the leaves are also tasty in green smoothies or on a healthy sandwich.

Winter lettuce plants are hearty, so you also stir fry them: yum.
Volwassen wintersla Makkelijke Moestuin heeft stevig blad
Hearty winter lettuce leaves

The last levels

Keep harvesting your winter lettuce until the plants shoot up from the middle. Then they'll start to flower soon.

That upward growth means it's time to harvest right away. The leaves won't be as tasty raw but are still good in mashed potatoes or a stir fry.

(By the way: the plants won't flower in the fall, only in spring.)

The last level: empty your winter lettuce patch and get it ready for something new.

So: how about growing winter lettuce yourself?

It's delicious, easy to grow, and the lettuce heads give you fresh greens in the winter months.

Plus: our materials and app make it practically impossible to fail 🙂

Order your winter lettuce seed bags separately, or get started with a complete starter kit:

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