Monday, 3 September 2012

Lettuce & how it grows in the desert

L e t t u c e 

And how it grows in the desert

What wonderful stuff!  Lettuce goes with so many things and is so commonplace that it is taken for granted.  And there are so many varieties!  Lots of types, colours and some taste different than others.  Leaf, Romaine, Butter, and probably the most popular, - Iceberg.  The most popular colour of course is green but there are various shades of red too.
Much of the lettuce sold in stores is from either California or Arizona.
If you are interested in seeing how it is grown & harvested in Arizona, I am posting a number of pictures taken in the Yuma area.  Not interested? Yawn?  Oh well!  I am posting it anyhow! LOL
* * * 

Gourmet or "baby" lettuce - overhead irrigation.  Most crops are flood irrigated.
When the farmer wants to irrigate the field they call  the water district and order
water by the acre foot - meaning the field would be flooded to the depth they order
if the water was not soaking in as it floods.  Also the planting beds are raised so the
plants don't get covered with water.

Are you thinking "rain?" in the desert?  Well, yes, it does rain in the desert and when it does
rain it really does a job of it.  And even though the area is mostly sand & rock it DOES not soak
in right away.  When touring the area you will see a "dry wash" and even a river with no water in it.  But when it rains, those dry washes and rivers become raging torrents.

The trailer goes along beside the mower and the filled boxes are transferred from the mower to the transport vehicle.  The lettuce is then taken to the processing plant.

The lettuce is planted in two rows in each raised bed.
I know, I switched from leaf lettuce to head lettuce but I wanted to show a picture 
of how wet it gets in the fields.  Hard to do any harvesting in the rain - you can see why.

It is important to get the lettuce into the cool and on to market quickly.

A small hand operated forklift is used to move the stacks of crates of lettuce 
around inside the trucks.

* * * 
My next blog will be "Lettuce - Part 2"
and I will deal with head lettuce then.
* * *
If you find this interesting, please let me know
otherwise I am going to drop this idea.

I have dozens more pictures showing all the many crops being grown and how they  
are harvested in the Yuma AZ area 


  1. I Liked this post. I found this in an attempt to determine if what is growing in the irrigated chicken yard is edible lettuce. It just showed up in quantities. I have to pull it or cultivate it. The chickens won't touch it.

  2. I liked this post too. I didn't realize that you could grow lettuce in the desert. Please share more if you have time.