Can Lettuce Handle Some Frost?
Growing your own lettuce in the garden is a rewarding experience. Instead of buying lettuce at the grocery store, you can have access to the fresh produce throughout the growing season. Lettuce will grow back after you pick it, and will last throughout the summer and well into the fall. Though frost will kill some vegetables, lettuce can handle light instances of frost, according to the Purdue Extension.
Romaine and butterhead lettuce are the most resistant to cold temperatures, so you'll be able to harvest them later than other varieties, such as iceberg and bibb. If you have a variety of kinds of lettuce in your garden, aim to pick the more sensitive varieties when you begin to worry about frost. If you're not in a rush to pick the romaine and butterhead lettuce, they should survive a few instances of frost.
When the weather forecast starts to include mention of frost warnings, it's a likely sign that your vegetable garden is quickly drawing to the end of its growing season. On nights in which frost is in the forecast, cover your garden with sheets or towels to provide protection. This strategy won't work through prolonged exposure to the cold, but it will help delay the inevitable.
Frost in Refrigerator
Although some varieties of lettuce will stand up to frost outdoors, frost in your refrigerator is the enemy. Lettuce is not suitable for the freezer; place a head of lettuce in the freezer and you'll soon find a gooey, slippery vegetable. If your refrigerator occasionally gets cold enough that frost appears on your food, this may damage your lettuce. Adjust your fridge's settings so that frost no longer appears.
- Romaine and butterhead lettuce are the most resistant to cold temperatures, so you'll be able to harvest them later than other varieties, such as iceberg and bibb.
- Although some varieties of lettuce will stand up to frost outdoors, frost in your refrigerator is the enemy.
- Purdue Extension; Gardeners Should Prepare to Avoid Frost; B. Rosie Lerner; September 2004
- University of Arizona Cooperative Extension: Lettuce
- Mother Earth News; All About Growing Lettuce; Barbara Pleasant; April/May 2008
- The Ohio State University Extension; Growing Lettuce in the Home Garden; Marianne Riofrio
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.