Production of Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) in Ghana.

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Lettuce is a foreign vegetable which is now commonly grown in Ghana.

It is either eaten raw, cooked in palava Source, or as a salad.

Varieties of lettuce grown in Ghana

  1. Cos or Romaine lettuce
  2. Leaf lettuce (var. crispa)
  3. Cabbage lettuce.

Weather requirement for its cultivation.

  • Lettuce is a cool season crop.
  • It grows well in a wide range of climatic and soil conditions.
  • It performs better in temperatures of 15 – 22°C.
  • A pH of 6.0-6.8 is preferable.
  • It needs soils with good drainage and high organic content.
  • Sandy loams are ideal.

How to cultivate lettuce

  • Clear the land and raise beds.
  • Add organic manure such as cow dung, poultry dung, goat dung, or decaying organic matter into the soil
  • Lettuce is grown by the seed.
  • It germinates within 4-5 days from sowing.
  • After 4-6 weeks the young seedlings are transplanted or they are transplanted when they have 4 – 5 leaves.
  • You can however sow your lettuce seeds directly and thinned out after they germinate.
  • Planting is done 20- 30 cm between plants and 40 cm – 45 cm between rows.
  • Lettuce may mature in a 6-12 weeks period depending on the variety.

How to take care of your seedlings after transplant.

  • Weed regularly
  • Watering regularly
  • Mulch to retain moisture and suppress weed growth.
  • Apply fertilizer when necessary.

Disease of lettuce

Bottom rot.  

  • This is characterized by the ‘damping-off of seedlings,
  • Older plants develop sunken brown spots on midribs and petioles of lower leaves which eventually fall.

Cultural control:

  • Avoid deep planting.
  • Water-logged soil.
  • Burns debris.

Harvesting lettuce

  • Harvest when heads mature and hearts are firm.
  • It will bolt and produce flowers if kept too long.
  • Harvesting during the early part of the day is preferable, particularly in hot weather.
  • Yields of approximately 10-15 tones/may be obtained.

Storage and Marketing of lettuce

  • Lettuce is stored for only a few days in a cool condition.
  • You can also store it in your freezer.
  • Lettuce ‘heads’ are marketed according to size and weight.
  • It is sold locally or by export.

Importance of lettuce

  • Lettuce is eaten raw as salad.
  • Lettuce is cooked in palava sauce.
  • It serves as roughage and prevents constipation.
  • It also contains some nutrients (vitamins) needed by the body.

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