Butter lettuce will form semi-firm heads if given the space to do so. Direct sow another batch of seeds in the garden in a sunny location as soon as the soil is workable. Older plants are more likely to bolt, and they usually develop bitter, tough leaves. Most leaf lettuces can be planted in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Butter lettuce is a loose leaf lettuce with soft but sturdy leaves and a sweeter flavor than regular head lettuce. This physiological condition is typically a result of inconsistent moisture levels, especially during dry spells. During the 81–96 AD reign of Domitian, the tradition of serving a lettuce salad before a meal began. The fully automated growing system is optimized for growing baby leaf lettuce, herbs and small head lettuces, that are to be sold cut. , Lettuce is very easy to grow, and as such has been a significant source of sales for many seed companies. Pale to white lettuce, such as the centers in some iceberg lettuce, contain few nutrients..  Today, the majority of lettuce is grown for its leaves, although one type is grown for its stem and one for its seeds, which are made into an oil. Red leaf lettuce produces brilliant leaves ranging from deep royal purple to crimson and rust. To plant lettuce from seed, plant seeds every ½” or so and lightly cover with soil. Don’t hesitate to harvest entire plants before they pass peak harvest. Post-Roman Europe continued the tradition of poaching lettuce, mainly with large romaine types, as well as the method of pouring a hot oil and vinegar mixture over the leaves. To harvest, either dig up the whole plant … sativa, L. scariola var. Habitat. Overall, the idea is to plant multiple rows or groups of lettuces every two weeks throughout the growing season. long, … protect from slugs and snails. Outbreaks Associated with Fresh and Fresh-Cut Produce. Popular varieties of red looseleaf lettuce include: Red Sails – A crumpled and toothed leaf that fades from slight green in … A successful iceberg crop grown on water heavily depends on the location, the climate, the hydroponic system, variety choice and especially the desired outcome; is the target market fresh whole head Iceberg or processed salads. If your goal is to grow leaf lettuce throughout the summer, choose heat tolerant varieties. Homegrown lettuce is also more nutritious and flavorful than anything you will find at the grocery store.  One variety, the celtuce (asparagus lettuce) (t: 萵苣; s: 莴苣; woju), is grown for its stems, which are eaten either raw or cooked. Amber is passionate about all things gardening, especially growing and enjoying organic food. Get seeds now from True Leaf Market. This should be done before they mature, usually within 60 days. As a root crop, carrots utilize underground space to grow their produce, while lettuce plants have very shallow roots and grow their crop above the soil. The hot summer sun and temperatures can be hard on lettuce crops, and cause them to bolt. We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. To plant loose leaf lettuce, wait until the ground outside has thawed and then mix compost and fertilizer into a bed of soil in a sunny spot. Some of these links may be affiliate in nature, meaning we earn small commissions if items are purchased. By the late 1900s, Asia, South America, Australia and Africa became more substantial markets. Optimal soil pH is between 5.8 and 6.5 for lettuces. Different locations tended to prefer different types of lettuce, with butterhead prevailing in northern Europe and Great Britain, romaine in the Mediterranean and stem lettuce in China and Egypt. By the late 20th century, the preferred types began to change, with crisphead, especially iceberg, lettuce becoming the dominant type in northern Europe and Great Britain and more popular in western Europe. The high water content of lettuce (94.9 percent) creates problems when attempting to preserve the plant – it cannot be successfully frozen, canned or dried and must be eaten fresh. Leaf lettuces are great choices for growing in containers as well. French Watering Cans are especially useful. Diatomaceous earth or finely ground eggshells sprinkled around plants can take care of cutworms and other soft-bodied pests, like slugs. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. Lettuce was originally farmed by the ancient Egyptians, who transformed it from a plant whose seeds were used to create oil into an important food crop raised for its succulent leaves and oil-rich seeds. Lactuca sativa is a member of the Lactuca (lettuce) genus and the Asteraceae (sunflower or aster) family.  In spite of its high water content, traditionally grown lettuce has a low water footprint, with 237 liters of water required for each kilogram of lettuce produced. Carrots.  The current word lettuce, originally from Middle English, came from the Old French letues or laitues, which derived from the Roman name. Plants are also fast growing and small, with shallow roots.  A 2007 study determined that the vacuum cooling method, especially prevalent in the California lettuce industry, increased the uptake and survival rates of E. coli O157:H7.  This propensity for crossing, however, has led to breeding programs using closely related species in Lactuca, such as L. serriola, L. saligna, and L. virosa, to broaden the available gene pool. Depending on how much space you have, in combination with succession planting, this will lead to near-constant harvests once your seedlings take off.  There are also a few varieties with yellow, gold or blue-teal leaves. You’ll love the pale green, tender leaves. These include fused anthers that form a tube which surrounds a style and bipartite stigma. As lettuce seedlings grow, thin them so that the leaves of adjoining plants do not overlap. This will ensure a continual supply of young plants for an optimal harvest. Cover with a very thin layer of compost or vermiculite. For example, ancient Egyptians thought lettuce to be a symbol of sexual prowess and a promoter of love and childbearing in women. Here are a few of our favorite leaf types to choose from: ‘Lollo Rosso’ lettuce (Lactuca sativa ‘lollo rossa’) is an Italian variety with ruffled, dark pink leaves that are green at the base. Plants may be cut to the ground as above, or you can just remove the largest leaves as you need them. , Lettuce's native range spreads from the Mediterranean to Siberia, although it has been transported to almost all areas of the world. For example, the larvae of the ghost moth is a common pest of lettuce plants. Loose-leaf lettuces, as the name suggests, don’t form tight heads. Lettuce grows best in full sun in loose, nitrogen-rich soils with a pH of between 6.0 and 6.8. Start one batch of seeds indoors six weeks before your area’s average last spring frost date, or 8 weeks before the first average frost date in fall. Consistently moist soil makes for fast growing, happy lettuce. integrifolia. How to Identify and Treat Pecan Twig Dieback Disease, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme: A Love Story, How to Use Eggshells in the Garden for Soil, Compost, and as Pest Control, How to Plant and Grow Daikon: Add Some Zing to Your Garden, Promoting Pollination by Design: How to Attract Pollinators. If you struggle to grow crops, you should get along well with growing lettuce.  Salmonella bacteria, including the uncommon Salmonella braenderup type, have also caused outbreaks traced to contaminated lettuce. Freshly harvested, crisp leaves are highest in vitamin A and potassium. , Western Europe and North America were the original major markets for large-scale lettuce production. Lettuce Varieties.  Once plants move past the edible stage, they develop flower stalks up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in) high with small yellow blossoms. , Lettuce also suffers from several viral diseases, including big vein, which causes yellow, distorted leaves, and mosaic virus, which is spread by aphids and causes stunted plant growth and deformed leaves. BABY LEAF LETTUCE Fully Automated System. This loose-leaf variety has light green leaves with tips of the leaves are slightly curled. Young plants properly hardened at least 3–5 days before planting can survive temperatures as low as 20°F (-6°C). It ships well, but is low in flavor and nutritional content, being composed of even more water than other lettuce types. Once leaves begin to appear and they are about 4 inches (10 cm.) Sow seeds every few weeks to keep an everlasting crop coming on all year. Lettuce is most often used for salads, although it is also seen in other kinds of food, such as soups, sandwiches and wraps; it can also be grilled.  Plants in hot areas that are provided partial shade during the hottest part of the day will bolt more slowly. than head lettuce, meaning no thinning needed and garden space is maximized. , Soil nutrient deficiencies can cause a variety of plant problems that range from malformed plants to a lack of head growth. However, genetically modified lettuce is not currently[when?] The key to delicious, tender leaves is to maintain a fresh supply of young plants. It grows best in the spring or fall because lettuce … And experimenting with different varieties will open up your palate to new flavors of this leafy green you never knew existed.  L. sativa also has many identified taxonomic groups, subspecies and varieties, which delineate the various cultivar groups of domesticated lettuce. Transplanted lettuce (started in flats and later moved to growing beds) is generally more competitive initially, but can still be crowded later in the season, causing misshapen lettuce and lower yields.  Lettuces meant for the cutting of individual leaves are generally planted straight into the garden in thick rows. , In the United States in 2013, California (71%) and Arizona (29%) produced nearly all of the country's fresh head and leaf lettuce, with head lettuce yielding $9400 of value per acre and leaf lettuce $8000 per acre.. Europe and North America originally dominated the market for lettuce, but by the late 20th century the consumption of lettuce had spread throughout the world. Photos by Allison Sidhu, © Ask the Experts, LLC. Taking a little more time to prepare the garden bed will have a big impact on your harvest. Soil Science Society of America Journal 60, 163-168. Lettuce quickly degrades when stored with fruit such as apples, pears and bananas that release the ripening agent ethylene gas. Row covers can also serve well in the heat of the summer to provide shade and delay bolting. Loose-leaf lettuces are definitely the easiest crops to grow if you’re a novice gardener. Once temperatures reach 80°F and nights become warm, plants are known to bolt and begin to flower. A fully automated system for the cleanest, safest and freshest baby greens. Okay, we’ll give you one guess as to why this cultivar is known as ‘Oakleaf.’ This type reaches maturity in just 40 days, and Utah State University stands behind this pick, so it must be good. In that country, "salads" were created from cooked vegetables and served hot or cold. A layer of organic mulch will help to maintain soil moisture, protect roots, and prevent weeds. 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