Lettuce / Lactuca sativa

lettucesteamboat (300x274)Lactuca sativa ‘Steamboat’ – A good choice for home gardeners wanting to grow their own Iceberg-type lettuce. The firm, crisp heads are quite dense with a desirable crunchy texture that comes from the high water content. ‘Steamboat’ is resistant to fungal diseases although slugs are a common pest, so use organic bait (iron phosphate) around your crop. Matures in 65 days.

lettuce4 (300x298)Lactuca sativa ‘Rouxai’ – An Oakleaf or Quattro-Red type lettuce that forms small heads of glossy burgundy-red leaves, with a prominent green heart. These have good flavour and a crisp leaf texture. ‘Rouxai’ is also easy to process, as one basal cut will leave you with numerous, ready to eat small leaves that you can toss right into the salad bowl. Matures in 47 days.

lettucedrunkenwoman (300x298)Lactuca sativa ‘Drunken Woman’ – How this Looseleaf lettuce came to be named is anyone’s guess, but you will find it one of the last to bolt in the summer heat. The fringed light green leaves are edged in a reddish-burgundy and have  a very sweet flavour. This Italian heirloom is open-pollinated, so you can save the seeds for next year’s crop or to share with friends. Matures in 55 days.

lettucenafividad (300x293)Lactuca sativa ‘Natividad’ – A highly ornamental Dark Lollo Rossa-type lettuce with frilled leaves of an intense burgundy-red. The young foliage can be harvested for mixed salads, while the full-size heads are usually used for garnish. ‘Natividad’ would be a great candidate for incorporating into edible landscapes, although you might be a little reluctant to pick it. Matures in 53 days.

lettucetomthumb (300x299)Lactuca sativa ‘Tom Thumb’ – This heirloom American Butterhead lettuce dates back to 1830, and it remains extremely popular to this day. The baseball-sized heads (3-4″ across) of green leaves have slightly paler and milder tasting inner foliage. ‘Tom Thumb’ resists bolting and a single head makes a nice individual salad. Good for containers. Matures in 50 days.

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