Recycling Lettuce


Introduction: Recycling Lettuce

About: I MAKE in my sleep. I MAKE for keeps. I MAKE I MAKE I MAKE creative me.

Ms. Zoid brought home a package of butter lettuce the other day. This lettuce was unusual because the rootball was still attached and it was dirty. We pulled leaves, rinsed them and ate salad for several days until we just had the spike and rootball. Well, I decided to plant it in our garden to see if we could grow more lettuce and to see what would happen in general. This is a very tasty lettuce with large leaves that also cover a whole piece of sandwich bread. Yum!

  • The two photos show two different brands that I have found in our local groceries.
  • The first photo is the label and package from the butter lettuce we used in this Instructable. It was purchased from Safeway from their Organics line.
  • The second photo is from our local Kroger store. We didn't buy this head, I just shot the picture for reference.


The goal of this project is toget several more salad meals out of this stump of a lettuce.

Step 1: Planting and Growing

This will be a continuing story as our lettuce grows and I will post periodic pictures to document this project. We may be creating a FAIL Instructable, only time will tell.


  • Butter Lettuce Rootball - $3.50
  • Soil
  • Water


  • I was careful to not wash the rootball so that the soil stayed intact.
  • I dug a small hole in our garden with my fingers. Our soil is rich in nutrients so I did not add anything extra.
  • I placed the rootball in the hole and gently covered it with the extra soil and made sure it was planted well.
  • Water and watch it grow.

If you don't have an existing garden, I suggest using potting soil and an 8 inch diameter pot. I believe that size would be enough to grow a great plant.

We planted this lettuce in the beginning of July in Colorado. Our temperatures range from 60 degrees (night) to 90 degrees during the day. We receive scattered rain showers that don't really water our plants. The lettuce was planted under the shade of our tomatoes and receives about 7 hours of strong indirect sunlight. We water as needed or when the tomato leaves wilt a bit.

We will continue to grow our lettuce (and quite possibly other heads) until...
1. We eat it.
2. It doesn't grow.
3. Winter freezes it.
4. We get bored.

Step 2: Let Us Grow

Day 1 -This is the first day we planted the lettuce.

Day 3 - Our plant is turning green and new leaves appear to be growing taller.

Day 5 - The new leaves on top are growing larger.

Day 7 - It looks like this project will not fail. The leaves are really shaping up.

Day 9 - The top is really growing. It looks like we will eat salad off of this plant again.

Day 12 - We went camping for the weekend and when we came back we found our wilted butter lettuce plant. I hope a thorough watering will bring it back to life. Fingers crossed.

Day 13 - We were really relived to see that our lettuce perked right back up. I now predict that this Instructable will be a win - if we don't go out of town again, that is.

Step 3: Two Weeks of Growth

I changed camera angles today to get a better view.


Day 15 - Our butter lettuce is growing strong, we will eat soon. Yum.


Day 17 - The leaves are getting much bigger.


Day 19 - We've had a bunch of rain the last few days and the lettuce loves it.


Day 21 -


Day 23 -


Day 25 -


Day 27 - Oops, I let it dry out. I'm going to water it and make a GIF and watch it grow.



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    Thanks 4 the idea, I'll definitely try this 1! If people like failure Instructables then I should start making some! I've got a whole list of em!

    Great job! Lettuce looks wonderful. Thanks for taking photos - visuals are extremely helpful.

    Great idea.

    Did you have any issues with lettuce-loving bugs? If you have, how did you cope with it?

    1 reply

    This is my first time growing lettuce of any kind. I have searched the plant and have not noticed and types of bugs, so I haven't had to deal yet. The tomato plants above them don't really show signs of bug attacks either. As this is an in-progress Instructable, I will keep posting updates, bugs included.

    Smart way to make your lettuce last longer. These in-progress projects are a great way to show your work, and I applaud your willingness to fail if the re-rooting does not work in the photos. (Fail projects are the best. You're not trying if you're not failing.)

    1 reply

    I have not run across any in-progress Instructables so I thought it would be fun and engaging. Here's to winning.

    Just cause it doesn't work doesn't mean it's a fail. It just means you learned one way not to do something.

    1 reply

    That's true. Using the word fail may be too strong. How about, science project? This Instructable makes me feel like I'm in grade school. Haha.