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I planted some lettuce this year, Great Lakes #118 to be exact. This particular variety is a heading lettuce that the seed packet said was great for salads. Sounded good to me at the time, except you have to wait 82 days until the head is ready for harvest. I didn't know the difference at the time between head and loose leaf lettuce. Loose leaf lettuce allows you to harvest a little at a time with a much shorter waiting period.
I started planting this back in late February up until early March. That put my harvest dates around mid May. I don't know a lot about growing lettuce, but I have read that it doesn't like heat and it will bolt to seed when it gets too hot. We have been pushing 90 degrees lately and the lettuce was growing great, but there was no sign of a head forming. I feared it might start bolting, so today I clipped some of the outer leaves on the largest plants. I was surprised at how much lettuce I got from just a few clippings. I washed it thoroughly, and then made a nice little lettuce mountain on my cutting board. I chopped it up really good and it completely engulfed the cutting board. It was the equivalent of two regular store bags of lettuce.
I ate a salad tonight and it was awesome. The lettuce was so crisp and juicy. It was all green lettuce too, not some green and some of the white stem lettuce like you get when you buy it in the store. We will be eating salads this whole week and I have plenty to harvest in future weeks if the weather cools off. I don't know if the outer leaves taste any different than what would form in the head, but it is good enough for me.