Lettuce Types And Varieties
There is a huge variety of different types of lettuce out there. Pick
according to taste and growing season (spring/summer/autumn).
Butterhead Lettuce produces a round head with a soft leaf. Popular varieties are Tom Thumb, Debbie, Valdor or Clarion.
Iceberg Lettuce produces a round, firm head with crispy leaves. Famous varieties are Saladin, Webb's Wonderful or Ithaca Great Lakes.
Romaine Lettuce produces an oblong head with slightly crispy leaves. Famous varieties are Little Gem, Marvel or Red Cos.
Pick-leaf Lettuce produce a loose head often with curly leaves. The idea is to pick the outer leaves whenever needed.
This is ideal for a smaller household or if you just like to add some leaves to the mixed salad bowl. They are my favorite.
You can harvest the leaves over a longer period and take the rest of the head before it starts to bolt.
Famous varieties are Lollo Rosso, Salad Bowl, Oak Leaf or Red Salad Bowl.
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How To Grow Lettuce
Growing Conditions for Lettuce Plants
You need a rich but well drained soil for growing lettuce. Ideally you
add some well rotted manure or compost during autumn or winter. Don't let the soil
or your plants will bolt before they make heads.
They can also be grown in containers. Use a good quality potting soil and keep them moist.
Propagation - Lettuce Seed Germination
Start off your seeds under glass for the spring and autumn crops. It is
also very handy to have some small plants available during the summer
They make great gap-fillers whenever some space becomes available in
your vegetable garden.
Your summer crop is best seeded directly into the ground.
Thin them out to the distance recommended on the seed packet.
Lettuce seed germination: These seeds do not germinate above 20 degreesC/68 degrees F, so starting them off in the summer in a hot glasshouse
might not be successful.
You can buy seeds online here.
Pick The Right Varieties For The Season!
Pick the varieties according to the season. Some varieties are not suitable for growing during the hot summer months.
They start bolting before
they produce a head.
Pests and Diseases Of Lettuce Plants
Of course slugs and snails can be a problem when planting lettuce, especially in damp weather. Have a look here for organic slug control methods.
Aphids and cutworms can also make problems as can lettuce root aphids.
If you have this problem switch to resistant varieties like Avoncrisp or
Mildew can be a problem in damp weather. Keep airing glasshouses
and polytunnels well to prevent problems with fungal diseases.
Photo: maxi millipede
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