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Gardener reveals the biggest mistake you can make when harvesting your homegrown lettuce: 'Many folks don't get that'

"I always say that cropping is an art in itself."

Best way to keep a head of lettuce growing

Photo Credit: @thefrenchiegardener / Instagram

An Instagram reel with more than 21,000 likes and counting shows gardeners how to get a single head of lettuce to continuously generate new leaves.

The scoop

Patrick Vernuccio (@thefrenchiegardener) posted a video explaining that the best way to always have fresh lettuce with minimal work is to switch up how you pick your lettuce. In the video, the green-thumbed Instagrammer explains that when you see a lettuce head is ready to eat, it's better to cut away the outer and lower leaves instead of pulling up the whole thing.

"Only pick the lower and outer leaves … harvest just what you need," Vernuccio says. "It will release back energy to the plants so that its heart will continue to produce new leaves. You may think it's a good time to cut and harvest the whole lettuce … I know it's tempting, but stop."

He adds that this technique will also create more room for the younger plants surrounding the lettuce to grow.

How it's helping

Using Vernuccio's technique can save you time, effort, and resources. When you pull the entire head of lettuce out from the ground at maturity, you're forced to replant the item if you want it to grow back, meaning another trip to the store for seeds and more time in the garden. 

Simply plucking the lower, outer leaves means you can get lettuce from the same plant, over and over again, without replanting.

Keeping a head of lettuce in the ground as long as possible also helps you conserve water, and that's because younger plants tend to need more water than mature ones. Keeping the fully grown lettuce for a while means you can stick to a reduced watering schedule.

 What everyone's saying

Fans of @thefrenchiegardener are loving the hack.

"You just read my mind! I have planted some lettuces following your recommendations and didn't know how to harvest. Thanks for the tip!" one commenter said.

"I always say that CROPPING is an art in itself. Many folks don't get that!!" another follower wrote.

"Thank you for this one. I have always wondered how to harvest lettuce in order to keep it growing! Green love right back!" one fan raved.

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