This year, to help save money for next year I’m planning on saving as much seed as I can. Seed is relatively cheap, but for as many packets as we go through it adds up quickly. Plus, when you save seed you can slowly develop a variety that will do really well for your region by picking the plants that exhibit the best qualities.
Lettuce has a self pollinating, perfect flower. This makes it fairly easy to save seed from. You can separate varieties by at least 20′ or if you don’t have enough space you can simply cover the flower head before it opens with spun polyester or a bag.
When choosing which plants to save seed from you want to look at a few factors. The first and most important is choosing the plant that is the last to bolt. You don’t want lettuce that will bolt quickly in your climate. The later bolters are generally more adaptable to your region. You can also choose seed for it’s color. The lettuce above can vary greatly in how many speckles it has. If you want more speckles, choose seed from plants that have more speckles. You can also choose based on head size, how long it took for it to get bitter, etc. Just figure out which traits you want and then choose your plants based on those.