Bibb Butter or Lettuce – Growing Bibb Lettuce in the Garden

Growing your own lettuce is a quick and easy task in the home garden. Locally grown lettuce, which thrives in the cool temperatures of early spring and fall, adds color and texture to salads and other dishes. For many growers, choosing which variety of lettuce to grow each season can seem like a daunting task. With so many options, there are varieties of lettuce suitable for a wide range of growing conditions. One lettuce in particular, butterhead lettuce, has long earned its place in the garden as a grower favourite. Read on to learn more about bibb butterhead lettuce plants.

What is butter lettuce?

Native to Kentucky, butterhead lettuce (also known simply as Bibb) is a crisp variety of lettuce that forms a free head as it grows. Because of its characteristic tenderness, butterhead lettuce is often used to add subtle flavour to salads, sandwiches, wraps and more. Although it can be stored in the refrigerator for a short period of time, the leaves of this lettuce are very delicate and more susceptible to wilting than some other varieties of lettuce.

Growing Bibb lettuce

Growing butter lettuce or Bibb lettuce is very similar to growing any other type of lettuce, except for the space. Although some lettuces can be successfully grown intensively in a small space, it is best to leave at least 12 cm (30 cm) of space between Bibb plants. This allows for the formation of the characteristic loose-leaf head of the variety.

In early spring or fall, choose a sunny, well-drained location. While plants should receive at least six hours of sunshine per day, those living in warmer climates may need to plant lettuce in partially shaded areas to protect plants from extreme heat.

When growing lettuce, it is essential to consider the effect of temperature on lettuce crops. Although somewhat tolerant to cold and light frost, ideal conditions for lettuce growth occur when temperatures are below 24°C (75°F). Higher temperatures can make lettuce bitter and, over time, the plant will grow and produce seeds.

During the growing season, Butter Bibb plants require a minimum of care. Growers should monitor the plants for damage from common garden pests such as slugs and snails, and aphids. Plants will need constant watering; however, make sure the plants are not flooded with water. With proper care of the Butter Bibb, plants should reach maturity in about 65 days.

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