Lettuce Bolting: When to harvest?

What is lettuce bolting and why does it matter?

Bitterness and bolting in lettuce have a direct correlation and we have a feeling you don’t particularly want to grow bitter tasting lettuce, so here are a couple of tips!

1. Know your end goal for the crop.

Whether you are growing lettuce for commercial use, you’re a master gardener, or a homeowner just looking to have a backyard garden, tasty lettuce is likely your goal. In this case, bolting is something you are going to look to avoid. Bolting is the action in which lettuce takes when it stretches tall and the leaves begin to separate from the stem. This is the plant’s natural tendency to go to flower and seed and once this process begins, the lettuce starts becoming bitter. Depending on how much lettuce you are growing, you may not be able to harvest in just one day. If this is the case, be sure to plan accordingly to minimize bolting.

2. Know your environment.

Florida’s unique climate can be difficult to grow lettuce. Harvest time is crucial to the taste of lettuce and in the harsh weather temperatures in the Suwannee Valley region. One day can make or break the taste of your crop so finding the perfect day to harvest is crucial because bolting can happen overnight. At the North Florida Research and Education Center, we use hydroponics in the greenhouses in an attempt to control the environment of our lettuce trials. This technology allows for the lettuce to be grown in a nutrient-based solution away from the hot, unpredictable conditions that North Florida is known for. However, there are varieties that can be grown in the sandy soils of Suwannee Valley and our Small Farm’s Academy would love to host any questions you have regarding the varieties that would work best for your needs!

Click the link below to watch a quick tutorial on how to check for bolting!


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For more information on upcoming programs in Suwannee Valley, contact our office at 386-362-1725.

North Florida Research and Education Center-Suwannee Valley

7580 County Road 136 Live Oak, FL 32060

By: Denver Cameron, Wanda Laughlin, and Betsy Martin

UF/IFAS Extension is an Equal Opportunity Institution


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Posted: June 18, 2019

Category: Agriculture, Crops, Fruits & Vegetables, Horticulture,
Tags: Florida Lettuce, Greenhouse Production, Hydroponics, Lettuce, North Florida Research And Education Center-Suwannee Valley, North Florida Vegetable Production


Kevin Athearn

May 27, 2021

You would have to contact your county property appraiser office to learn what the additional property tax would be. Every county (and municipality) has a different millage rate. Hoop houses could be treated as an improvement on the property, increasing the assessed value and amount of property tax you owe.

Vivian Searcy Milton
May 25, 2021

How are hoop Houses taxed by the property appraisers office? If it cost $1,395,000 to build the hoop house on the farm how much would the real estate taxes be. the land value with agriculture exemption is 55,000 Total acreage is 150 The extra features value is 1.395,000.

Kevin Athearn

April 16, 2020

Thank you very much for pointing out the Edible Northeast Florida map. I have added that to the blog.

Mimi Vreeland
April 16, 2020

Hello! Could you please edit the above infromation to include “Edible of Northeast and South Florida”. I was informed by the editor of Edible Northeast thy they are also providing the same service as South Florida Edible. Your prompt editing in this announcement would be much appreciated

April 3, 2020

WAS WONDERING as without our impact upon the urban setting could become devastating within days to weeks. Glad this industry is recognized as important, maybe we can be respected better. As having same amount of schooling as most Doctors, then being treated as 'lowly' has disappointed me over the years, as we have less respect. Always dreamed recognition would be nice & this form helps as we are important

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De Broughton

November 26, 2019

Hi Kathy, Click on our website and you should find the information you are looking for as well as upcoming training opportunities in the greenhouses. https://svaec.ifas.ufl.edu/ Also, the contact information for our greenhouse manager is on this site if you need more assistance!

November 15, 2019

kathylepereking@gmail.com.i worked with peanuts.bkueberries.oeaches,plums,vetch,tobacco etc for IFAS prior to six years ago.I was an OPS. ....have a few questions.i have never tried hydroponics.Will there be a separate print out or paper I can get and read carefully pertaining to local lettuce? that does not have to do with hydro technical methods?( Organic please?).i have been growing soybeans and yet to get good accurate info.locally when I visit my wonderful local IFAS office here.

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De Broughton

May 23, 2019

Thanks Al! I’m so glad you could join us!

Al Burns
May 23, 2019

Great meeting.

Patrick Troy
June 19, 2018

A 2018 update: STATE ITEM June 17, 2018 PREV. WEEK June 17, 2017 5-YEAR AVG. FLORIDA Peanuts Pegging 8% 0% 12% 11% Soil Moisture 0% Very Short 7% Short 73% Adequate 20% Surplus Conditions 0% VP, 1% Poor 20% Fair 68% Good 11% Excellent Early planted peanuts look excellent, but late planted were only fair because of prolonged wet conditions.

Jennifer Copeland
October 18, 2017

Checking to see if you are doing the Fall Harvest Experience inn Live Oak. My 3rd grade class loves to go each year!

October 10, 2017

Good timing We need to address both!

Patrick Troy

September 10, 2017

The warm spring increased GDDs. What are other varieties doing in your area?

Patrick Troy

September 10, 2017

Most 06G peanuts are running 8-10 days ahead of last year

Patrick Troy

September 10, 2017

Dry weather is expected to follow Monday's rain.

Patrick Troy

September 6, 2017

What was the stover material? Did you roll that down and herbicide it?

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