One Seed, One State: Grand Rapids Lettuce

One Seed, One State

The Michigan Seed Library Network supplies over 125 libraries in Michigan with kits so that gardeners across the state can grow a seed suited to Michigan's unique growing conditions and learn new gardening skills along the way! This year their selection is Grand Rapids Lettuce, a delicious-looking lettuce with bright green, wavy, frilled leaves. If left to mature it forms a head of loose leaves that reach 7 - 8” tall, but you can also use the "cut and come again" method to harvest baby lettuce throughout the summer. It is vigorous, bolt tolerant, and very flexible in the ways you can grow it! 

Fun Facts!

  • Bred in the late 1800’s by Eugene Davis, known as the "father of forced lettuce,” Grand Rapids lettuce became the leading greenhouse-grown winter lettuce in the Grand Rapids, MI area. (Via Nature and Nurture Seeds)
  • Smoke (in scientific conditions) can help Grand Rapids Lettuce seeds to germinate!  (Via Academic Search Complete)
  • Lettuce gardens can be traced all the way back to ancient Mesopotamia! (via Academic Search Complete)

How to Grow It:

GROWING CONDITIONS: Cold Tolerant, Greenhouse, Container Garden, Shaded Garden, Indoor, Outdoor

Planting Season: Cool Season (April-June, but you can also grow a fall crop)
Sowing Method: Direct Sow (don't start indoors and transplant later)
Light Requirement: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Planting Depth: 1/8 inch
Plant Spacing: 4 to 16 inches
Water Needs: Average
Days to Maturity: 30 (baby lettuce) to 60 days (mature; forms a loose head)

Eden Brothers has a fantastic lettuce planting guide available for free on their website. View their Grand Rapids Lettuce page here.

How to Save Seeds:

(source: Nature and Nurture)

  • The lettuce will begin to bolt and the leaves will grow bitter.
  • Make sure the lettuce seed is completely dry—wait for several days of dry weather.
  • Harvest the seed pods when they begin to form dandelion-like white plumes on them.
  • Tap stems to shake seeds into a bucket.