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Iceberg lettuce, scientifically known as Lactuca sativa, is a widely recognized variety of lettuce that is known for its crisp texture and mild flavor. It is a popular choice for salads, sandwiches, and various culinary applications.
Plant morphology: Iceberg lettuce forms tight, compact heads with densely packed leaves. The outer leaves are typically light green, while the inner leaves are pale yellow. The leaves have a thick and crunchy texture, making them ideal for salads and lettuce wraps.
Common names: Iceberg lettuce, Crisphead lettuce
Soil and climatic requirements: Iceberg lettuce prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. It grows best in a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH ranging from 6.0 to 7.0. It can tolerate a range of climates but thrives in cool weather. It is commonly grown as a spring or fall crop.
Planting type: Direct sowing or transplanting
Cropping season: Iceberg lettuce is typically grown in early spring or late summer/early fall. It can be grown as a succession crop for continuous harvesting.
Spacing: For optimal growth, space the lettuce plants about 15-25 cm apart in rows that are spaced approximately 30-40 cm apart.
Depth of sowing: Sow the lettuce seeds at a depth of about 0.5-1 cm in the soil.
Germination period: Lettuce seeds usually germinate within 3-15 days under favorable conditions.
Hours of sunlight required: Iceberg lettuce prefers full sun exposure, requiring at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
Watering: Iceberg lettuce requires regular watering to keep the soil consistently moist. Water deeply and evenly, avoiding overwatering or allowing the soil to dry out completely. Mulching can help retain soil moisture and regulate temperature.
Harvesting: Iceberg lettuce can be harvested when the heads have become firm and compact. This typically occurs about 40 days after planting. To harvest, cut the head at the base just above the soil level.
Companion crops: Iceberg lettuce can be planted alongside other cool-season vegetables like radishes, carrots, and spinach.
Problems of lettuce cultivation:
Pests: Common pests that can affect lettuce include aphids, slugs, snails, and caterpillars. Regular monitoring and appropriate pest control measures may be necessary to prevent damage.
Diseases: Lettuce can be susceptible to diseases such as downy mildew, powdery mildew, and lettuce leaf spot. Proper plant spacing, good airflow, and practicing crop rotation can help reduce the risk of disease.