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Mar 30, 2013 09:18 AM

Living Butter Lettuce - can this be done at home??

I just purchased a head of butter lettuce in a sealed plastic dome for 3.89 in the produce department. It had a brown glob of root attached to the lettuce. Here is the description off the label.

Bella Verdi
Hydroponically grown in greenhouse.
Pesticide free with roots on & no dirt.
Living lettuce, for the ultimate in taste & freshness

Another container purchase earlier was from

How in the world do they grow this lettuce? Is the whole thing started in the plastic container or what? Does anyone know how to grow lettuce at home in this manner?

I never have any luck with growing lettuce - too many varmints/pests, too hot, too get the picture.

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  1. They usually grow plants like that in a container with clay beads instead of dirt. The water system feeds it with plant food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: adventuresinbaking

      Thank you, the only thing I think of when I see the word "hydroponic" is the veggie has no relation to the good 'ole earth, somehow the plant has no "soul", or whatever. Yes, I bought the lettuce anyway even though I balked at the price. Was quite good & lasted so much longer than the other lettuce sold in those plastic containers or bags.

      One thing I have done is save the plastic containers & bought a regular bag of greens & transferred them to the saved container...that has made them last longer for whatever reason.

      Thanks again for the quick response.

    2. I remember visiting a demo at U. Arizona where the plants (including lettuce) were grown in air. A nozzle periodically sprayed the roots with enriched water. The technique was picked up at Epcot center in Florida, but I imagine it might not be suited to large-scale production.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DonShirer

        Air growing...sounds like you had a great time looking at all these methods of growing...guess this is not a new thing after all. Thanks for sharing.

      2. Hydroponic lettuce can be grown at home, if you have the space and resources. A simple Google search will give you many ideas. It's not grown in the container you buy, but in specialized garden houses that feed nutrients through the water in a soil-less environment.

        Lettuce is generally a cool weather crop, and critters will munch on it. I find that doing planters up on my deck away from the bunnies in the spring and fall is a good way to have my homegrown lettuce. I haven't grown head lettuce, however, only leaf lettuce.

        1. The problem with growing lettuce in a really hot climate is that when you most would like to have lettuce, in the heat of the summer, it's not going to do. You should have success in the early spring and in the fall.

          I've quit growing lettuce in the ground because it does so well in planters on my deck.

          This is not a good example because they are planted way to thick but you can see that they are thriving here in west central Georgia.

          I can usually keep it going until the first of July if I shade it some but that is about it.

          3 Replies
          1. re: kengk

            kengk, your lettuce looks fantastic! I gave up on the lettuce thing & tried some simple radish seeds. This fall I will find a shallow planter like yours & plant some lettuce on my back porch.

            My radish were planted way too thick & just got a bunch of green tops & stringy long roots. Jeez, I can't even grow those things. By the way folks, fresh thinly sliced radishes marinated in malt vinegar & course black pepper is a wonderful taste treat.

            I did plant some green onions that I purchased from the grocery & just snipped off the green tops & stuck the bulbs in the dirt & they have been growing like crazy for about 8 months & now have big flowered bulbs full of immature seeds. Wonder if the seeds they will grow if I save them.

            Thanks for the lettuce photo, wish I had some right now.

            1. re: kengk

              Is that planted in an Earth Box or just any old window box?

              1. re: kengk

                I plant mine thickly like that and use the thinnings for salads. I sometimes cut it, sometimes pull the plants up by the root.

              2. What do you thin would be the method to extend the life of this "living lettuce" bought in the grocery? I put the root ball in a small bowl with a small amount of water. In fridge? Covered? or ot.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Bobbieinaz

                  small bowl with a little water and loosely covered, or with a cover with some holes in it.

                  Lettuce needs cool surroundings or it bolts and becomes bitter.

                  1. re: Bobbieinaz

                    After cutting the lettuce off and eating it, my mother used to plant the roots in a pot with dirt and would get a couple more heads off it. You need to be careful not to cut into the growing tip when you remove the mature leaves, and the transition to dirt is not always easy.