Do you want to grow lettuce in Illinois, but don’t know when to plant them?
Planting lettuce is not as easy as it seems.
- Lettuce are not able to survive frost or cold weather under 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
So if you plant them outside too early in the spring they will die. And if you plant them too late, your lettuce won’t produce a harvest before the first frost arrives in the fall.
Today, I’m going to teach you the ideal time to plant lettuce in Illinois:
- To Learn More About HOW to Grow Lettuce, Check Out This GUIDE!
When to Plant Lettuce in Illinois
As you may have already guessed, you need to pay very close attention to your local weather in the spring. Specifically, you are going to need to watch when the last frost occurs.
In general, when there hasn’t been a frost for two weeks, you are SAFE to plant your lettuce outside in Illinois!
For your reference, I have created this table for average frost dates for most major cities in Illinois. If your city is not listed below you can find its Last & First Frost Dates HERE.
Illinois Last & First Frost Dates
Unfortunately, Mother Nature plays cruel tricks on us every year.
It should be noted that the above dates are just averages.
There are years when the last frost comes MUCH later. Sometimes, the last frost happens much earlier and you can get your lettuce planted outside in Illinois much quicker.
Like I said before, you need to be very diligent in checking your local weather.
So what happens if a frost comes AFTER you plant your lettuce?
When you know a frost is coming you need to take action.
- If lettuce are in pots, bring them inside
- If lettuce are in the ground, cover them in burlap and hope they survive
Also, make sure not to plant your lettuce in your garden too late.
- Planting lettuce too late will cause small lettuce or even worse, no lettuce.
When Should You Start Your Lettuce Seeds Indoors?
Depending on the type of lettuce, it takes roughly 40-45 days to grow lettuce from seed indoors and then transplant them to your garden.
For a specific date that you should start lettuce seeds indoors you should:
- Find the last average frost date HERE
- And then subtract 45 days from it
Not only this, but I recommend again paying close attention to your local weather report.
It should also be noted that the best technique for bringing your lettuce plants outside is to introduce them (in their pots) outside for an hour. And then increase the amount of time they spend outside each day by an hour until they have been outside for 8 hours.
This will “hardened” your lettuce plant, increasing its chances of fighting off diseases, insects, droughts, and wet conditions.
If you want to learn WHEN to plant ANY Vegetable in Illinois, head over to HERE and just type in the vegetable you want to grow.